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Braves' defining moments
10/03/2004 10:00 PM ET
First place: Atlanta took over first place for good on July 22 with a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh. The win gave Atlanta a 50-45 record.

Offseason moment: The Braves landed J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero from St. Louis for Ray King, Adam Wainwright and Jason Marquis. Utilizing their vast pitching resources, they filled their primary need in right field and at the same time acquired a valuable backup outfielder.

In-season moment: On June 15, manager Bobby Cox made the decision to move Chipper Jones back to third base. Jones had been beset by hamstring injuries all season in left field, and the move was made to get him healed and through the season without aggravating the injury. The decision wasn't easy for Cox because Jones was replacing Mark DeRosa, one of the most popular players on the team, who finally cracked the starting lineup this season. The move served a dual purpose, though. It also opened up a spot in the lineup for the left-field platoon of rookie Charles Thomas and hot-hitting Eli Marrero, who played an important role in helping the Braves to the NL East title.

Game: June 28, when the Braves erased a 7-0 deficit and claimed an 8-7 win over the Orioles. Their seven-run eighth inning proved their resilience and ignited them toward the top spot of the National League East. They were six games under .500 on June 23. But by July 22, they had claimed sole possession of first place and maintained it the rest of the season.

MVP: Drew was undoubtedly the team's MVP. Along with a .305 average and a .569 slugging percentage, he proved to be one of the game's finest outfielders. He drew 118 walks and proved to be a key to Chipper Jones' second-half resurgence. Cox calls Drew the ultimate No. 3 hitter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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