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Braves rally for three in ninth to edge Tigers

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves felt a lot better about their
chances when Adam Bernero left the mound.

Bernero pitched eight scoreless innings, but the Braves rallied
for three runs in the ninth to beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 Thursday
night.

Javy Lopez drove in the winning run with a two-out single
against Juan Acevedo, who couldn't preserve Detroit's second
shutout against the Braves in three games.

''Their starter did an awesome job for eight innings,'' Chipper
Jones said. ''We were kind of glad to get him out of there.''

Bernero was lifted after giving up Julio Franco's leadoff double
in the ninth. The Detroit starter threw only 84 pitches, allowing
five hits, striking out four and walking none.

''He was like (Greg) Maddux out there,'' Gary Sheffield said.
''You think he's throwing you one straight. By the time you swing,
it's on your hands and breaks your bat.''

The real Maddux pitched five scoreless innings for Atlanta, but
had to leave the game after reinjuring a sore left calf muscle. He
wasn't sure if he would be able to make his next start.

Acevedo (1-3) walked Sheffield and gave up Jones' run-scoring
single to right. Sheffield moved to third on the single, then was
caught off base when Andruw Jones grounded to third baseman Chris
Truby.

But Chipper Jones surprised the Tigers by stealing third, and
scored the tying run on Wes Helms' sacrifice fly to right-center.

''I've got to get to third in that situation,'' Jones said.
''The second pitch to Wes, (Acevedo) didn't even look at me. I
said, 'If he doesn't look at me again, I'm going.' That puts a lot
more pressure on their defense and gives Wes a chance to make a
productive out.''

While making the catch on Helms' fly ball, Wendell Magee
collided with Robert Fick in right-center. Both players went down,
allowing Andruw Jones to tag and go to second.

''It's a different game if Andruw doesn't get to second,''
Detroit manager Luis Pujols said.

With first base open, the Tigers walked Keith Lockhart
intentionally. Then, Vinny Castilla was hit by a pitch to load the
bases.

Lopez followed with a line drive to left that cleared the head
of former Braves player George Lombard, who appeared to get a poor
break on the ball. Lopez, who broke a 1-for-12 slump, had entered
the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Acevedo took out his frustration on home plate umpire Brian
Gorman.

''We didn't lose the game on the last pitch,'' the Tigers closer
said. ''We lost the game with the umpires making bad calls. You
guys can just look at the replay. A couple of pitches to Sheffield
were right there. These umpires -- I just better stop before I get
in trouble.''

Kerry Ligtenberg (1-3) got the victory, while Bernero got
nothing.

''It's part of the game, I guess,'' Bernero said. ''My job is to
pitch well and give us a chance to win. We won a game this year
when I gave up three runs in six innings. This makes up for that.''

Maddux originally hurt his calf last Saturday against Boston,
forcing him to leave the game in the seventh. He maintained his
regular spot in the rotation, although it was quickly apparent the
injury was still bothering him.

In the fifth, Maddux failed to cover first on a grounder by
Magee. Maddux grabbed at his left leg while Franco fielded the
ball, then watched as the Atlanta first baseman was beaten to the
bag by Magee.

Maddux finished the inning, but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in
the bottom half. He left a scoreless game having given up just two
hits.

''It's fine when I'm pitching and fine when I'm hitting, but I
have a hard time running,'' Maddux said. ''It's a little
embarrassing when you can't cover first. That's a routine play I
can do in my sleep, but I just couldn't get over there.''

After Maddux left, the Tigers broke through for their only runs
in the sixth against Chris Hammond, who was victimized by some
truly horrendous defense.

Chipper Jones made the first of three Atlanta errors in the
inning when he overthrew second after fielding a single by Truby to
left field.

Bernero bunted the runner to third, but Hammond gave himself a
chance to escape the jam by striking out Ramon Santiago. Damian
Jackson doubled to right, however, breaking up the scoreless tie.

Fick followed with a grounder to second baseman Lockhart, who
bobbled the ball while attempting to make a backhanded play.
Inexplicably, Lockhart then threw toward third, trying to catch
Jackson rounding the bag, only to have the ball skip into the
Tigers dugout.

Jackson trotted home and Lockhart was charged with two errors on
the play.

Game notes
The Braves had made only nine errors in their previous 26
games. ... Lombard, acquired from the Braves on Wednesday, went
0-for-3 in his first start for the Tigers. ... Former President
Jimmy Carter sat next to the Braves dugout with his wife, Rosalynn.
... Braves C Henry Blanco showed his arm strength by throwing out
two runners attempting to steal in the eighth.