Final in 10

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 9/16)

Game 1: Monday, September 15
Game 2: Tuesday, September 16
in 10
Game 3: Wednesday, September 17

Braves 4

(94-58, 43-34 away)

Expos 5

(77-75, 52-28 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 16, 2003

    Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec 

    R H E
    ATL - -
    MON - -

    W: R. Biddle (5-8)

    L: R. Hernandez (5-3)

    Braves' bullpen can't hold on to lead -- or the game

    MONTREAL (AP) -- Greg Maddux could only look on as his latest shot at 15 wins slipped away. No matter, the Braves are ensured of going to the postseason once again.

    Maddux was denied the victory when Atlanta's bullpen failed to hold a three-run lead, and the Montreal Expos beat the Braves 5-4 Tuesday night on Orlando Cabrera's run-scoring double in the 10th inning.

    "It's a part of the game," Maddux said. "Ten years ago I might have finished it, who knows."

    Hours later, the Braves (94-58) became the first major league team this year to clinch a playoff berth when Los Angeles (80-69) lost to Arizona. Florida (83-67) and Philadelphia (83-68) cannot both match Atlanta in wins because they have five games against each other.

    The Braves can clinch the NL East title Wednesday night if they beat Montreal and Philadelphia beats Florida. It would be the Braves' 12th straight division title (some were NL West titles), the most ever in the four major professional sports:

    At this point, the Braves at worst would finish with the best second-place record in the NL and win the wild card. Their magic number for clinching the division is two.

    "It's not about me or any other one guy here," Maddux said. "It's about what we do in the next two weeks to get ready for the postseason -- period."

    Maddux, trying to become the first pitcher to win 15 or more games in 16 consecutive seasons, allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, including three doubles. Maddux, making his second attempt to win No. 15, is tied with Cy Young at 15 straight 15-win seasons.

    "You tip your hat to the other team," Maddux said. "Cabrera clutched up and got a big double there."

    Javy Lopez caught Maddux in a regular-season game for the first time since Sept. 8, 1998.

    Atlanta led 4-1 before Vladimir Guererro's RBI single in the eighth off Jaret Wright.

    Ron Calloway hit a leadoff double off Will Cunnane in the ninth and scored on Brian Schneider's one-out RBI double. Jose Macias hit an infield single as second baseman Marcus Giles knocked down the ball with a dive, and Brad Wilkerson tied the score with a sacrifice fly off Kent Mercker.

    "It's always good to win, and any time you help the team win, it's satisfying," Calloway said.

    Then in the 10th, Guerrero drew a one-out walk off Roberto Hernandez (5-3) in the 10th and slid home with the winning run on Cabrera's liner to the right-field corner.

    "We let them back in the game in the eighth, and they took advantage in the ninth and 10th," Chipper Jones said. "We haven't been getting a lot of consistency once we get past our starters. Hopefully, that will solidify before the end of the season."

    Rocky Biddle (5-8) pitched the 10th, striking out Andruw Jones and retiring pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa on a groundout to escape a bases-loaded jam.

    "Rocky did a tremendous job," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "He got out of a jam, and that might be good for his psyche and getting him back on track."

    Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones homered on back-to-back pitches from Tomo Ohka in the seventh inning.

    Chipper Jones drove in three runs to give him 101 RBI and tied a National League record with his eighth straight 100-RBI season, joining Mel Ott, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa.

    Montreal, in its second-to-last home game, surpassed 1 million in home attendance for the first time in six years. A crowd of 9,843 raised the Expos' total to 1,008,113 -- including 22 home games that were moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Todd Zeile's sacrifice fly in the seventh drove in Montreal's first run, and Chipper Jones hit a two-run single in the eighth off Luis Ayala.

    Game notes

    It was the 51st time overall Maddux and Lopez have been batterymates during the regular season. ... It was the sixth time this season Atlanta has hit consecutive homers, including three in a row twice. ... Ohka knocked down Rafael Furcal's grounder back to the mound and threw a two-hopper from his knees to 1B Brad Wilkerson for the first out of the third. ... The Expos have drawn 695,231 in 58 games at Olympic Stadium, an average of 11,987 per game in Montreal.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press