10/05/2002 9:54 pm ET
MLB.com rates the performances
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
Just as in Game 2 in Atlanta, it was pitching and the bottom of the lineup that came up big for the Braves. Apparently it doesn't matter who plays second for them. They just keep coming up with unlikely heroes.
One peach: The last piece of fruit from the bottom of the bin
Two peaches: Mom packed this instead of a candy bar?
Three peaches: Juicy and refreshing
Four peaches: A tasty cobbler
Five peaches: Warm slice of delicious pie, a la mode
Keith Lockhart: Hard-core Braves fans remember that Lockhart came off the bench and hit a ninth-inning home run to beat the Mets on June 24 at Shea Stadium. So, this hero stuff is nothing new for him.
Greg Maddux: He worked his way out of trouble in the first three innings, made efficient use of his pitches and happily turned the game over to his bullpen after six innings. And he'll probably tell Bobby Cox he's available if needed if there's a Game 5 on Monday. What more do you want?
Bobby Cox: He resisted the temptation to start Javy Lopez, even though Lopez had homered in the first two playoff games. He started Keith Lockhart at second because he liked the matchup. And he went to his usual bullpen routine in the seventh even though Maddux had thrown only 67 pitches. You can't argue with Cox's success.
Vinny Castilla: Practically left for dead two weeks ago, Castilla has gotten healthy in a hurry and provided key hits two games in a row. He even made a nice swipe at third that started a key double play in the first inning. Welcome back, Vinny.
Rafael Furcal: He really hustled on his triple in the third inning and did the same on his bunt single in the ninth. Since May 1, the Braves are 57-8 when he scores a run.
One cable car: Broken down in the middle of rush-hour traffic
Two cable cars: Standing in a long line waiting for your turn
Three cable cars: Packed with tourists, but enjoying the ride
Four cable cars: Climbing halfway to the stars
Five cable cars: Atop Nob Hill, and you get to ring the bell
Giants bullpen: Note to Manny Aybar: You do not groove the first pitch to Vinny Castilla. Another note to Aybar: You do not groove the first pitch to Keith Lockhart. Class dismissed.
Shared by Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds: Kent needs to worry less about whether Maddux hit him on purpose and more about his postseason batting average (.182). Bonds left two runners in scoring position and should have hustled just a little more after he slipped on Furcal's hit into the left field corner.
Dusty Baker: He did a great job getting the Giants to this point. But it's time to shake things up a bit, and not by using eight pitchers.
Jason Schmidt: The ex-Brave looked tremendous for five innings. But he was clearly tired as he approached 100 pitches in the sixth and should have been pulled after the first two walks.
Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.