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Lockhart keys Atlanta victory
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Division Series
10/05/2002 4:18 pm ET 
Lockhart keys Atlanta victory
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

Rafael Furcal scored the first run for the Braves in the third inning on a groundout by Julio Franco. (Eric Risberg/AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Greg Maddux has visited the postseason enough to know that patience is one of the key virtues a pitcher must possess in order to find success.

So it wasn't a surprise that the Braves veteran right-hander displayed his best poker face while former teammate Jason Schmidt matched him pitch for pitch in what was the most critical game either had started this year.

But on this day it wasn't all that surprising that the four-time Cy Young Award winner's mental resolve lasted a little longer than that of his former pupil.

Maddux's six strong innings and Schmidt's sixth-inning meltdown that made Vinny Castilla and Keith Lockhart heroes helped the Braves defeat the Giants in Game 3 of the Division Series on Saturday at Pacific Bell Park.

    Vinny Castilla   /   3B
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
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"We're glad to come out of here with a win," Maddux said. "Now we'll try to go and get another one (Sunday). Anytime you have (Tom) Glavine on the mound, you feel confident."

Glavine, who was tagged for 10 hits in a Game 1 loss, will attempt to reverse his fortunes and provide an outing similar to Maddux's that would give the Braves a chance to advance to the NLCS for the 10th time since 1991.

With a 2-1 series advantage, the odds are in the Braves favor. Since Division Series play began in 1995, no National League team has overcome that deficit.

"I think we all like our chances," Chipper Jones said. "I don't expect to see the same kind of game that we did in the first one that Glavine pitched."

Coming into Saturday's game, there was some thought that a blister on Maddux's right index finger would hinder him. But his six-inning effort in which he allowed two earned runs on five hits proved otherwise.

    Greg Maddux   /   P
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 185
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
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"I felt it a little bit," Maddux said. "I felt it when I threw my slider and my cutter. But it really didn't affect me."

Pitching in his first postseason game didn't seem to overwhelm Schmidt until he walked Gary Sheffield, Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones on a total of 17 pitches with one out in the sixth inning. That prompted Giants manager Dusty Baker to bring right-handed reliever Manny Aybar, who had made just 15 appearances out of the bullpen this year.

Castilla, who batted .200 during the regular season with the bases loaded, opened the flood gates by hitting the first pitch Aybar delivered into shallow left field to score Sheffield and Chipper Jones right behind him.

"I was just trying to drive in those runs," said Castilla, who is hitting .364 with three RBIs in the Division Series. "He threw me a good slider. I just got enough of it."

With a standing-room-only crowd silenced and the Braves dugout celebrating, Lockhart added fuel to the fire by drilling Aybar's second pitch of the afternoon over the right-field wall for a three-run homer that extended the Braves lead to 6-1.

  Keith Lockhart   /   2B
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 170
Bats/Throws: L/R

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padres.com

"When I first hit it, Reggie (Sanders) kind of just stood there," Lockhart said in reference to the Giants right fielder. "I thought I hit it better than that, and I looked at the flags and they were blowing out. Then (Sanders) started running towards the wall and as soon as I heard it hit the tin, I was pretty excited."

Lockhart's teammates were enthused that he was able to glow in the same postseason spotlight that other lesser-know Braves players such as Mark Lemke, Eddie Perez and Mike Devereaux have experienced in the past.

"Lockhart has always been clutch," Maddux said. "That's why he's so good. He plays the game right. Being a good player means more than just having good numbers. Sometimes you just have to look at the way they play."

Maddux, who recorded his first postseason victory since Game 1 of the 1999 NLCS, gave up his second and final run of the afternoon when Barry Bonds hit his second homer of the series with two outs in the sixth inning.

But Maddux thought it was more Bonds' talents than the pitch that produced the home run. In fact, there were very few times that the master of pinpoint control missed his location.

"I felt good," Maddux said. "I felt like I threw the pitches that I wanted."

Maddux obviously missed his location during each of Jeff Kent's first two plate appearances. The second baseman hit an 0-2 pitch in the first inning for a RBI double and then got hit in the left side of the head with a pitch in the third. But with Bonds coming up behind Kent, there was not any intent.

"I tried to come up and in and missed location," Maddux said. "You never want to face Barry Bonds with runners on first and second. That was about the last thing I wanted to do. I put my team in a bad situation."

But actually when it was over, Maddux had put his team in a familiar situation of advancing to the second round. He was happy to do it on the road in front of a loud home crowd.

"It's fun," Maddux said. "You come out of the bullpen and hear 'Hell's Bells' by AC/DC. It's pretty cool. I really just wanted to take it all in and enjoy it. It's special."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at bowman.mark@worldnet.att.net. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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