10/04/2003 1:24 AM ET
Braves-Cubs: Game 3 game balls
Leave it to Cubs manager Dusty Baker to award the real game ball, and leave the fun stuff to us. Up to five "Harry Carays" to the best and worst of the victorious Cubs, and Georgia Peaches for the Braves.
By Jim Banks / MLB.com
Five Harry Carays: Holy Cow!
Four Harry Carays: Like a long fly ball onto Waveland
Three Harry Carays: Careful -- Cubs fans are fickle
Two Harry Caray: Stuck in traffic on Lakeshore Dr.
One Harry Caray: Throw it back!
Mark Prior: Are you kidding me? Remember where you were on this night baseball fans, when the Cubs' 23-year-old phenom burst onto the postseason scene in his first October start -- a two-hit, complete game victory over the best offense in the league. Holy cow!
Cubs fans: A raucous packed house of 39,982, many of whom paid top dollar to attend the game, stood through a 31-minute rain delay, mocked the "Tomahawk chop," cheered wildly throughout the game, chanted "Prior, Prior" throughout the ninth and stayed well after the game had ended. Braves fans, that's how it's done.
Former Bucs: Kenny Lofton got it started, Randall Simon knocked him in and Aramis Ramirez provided the insurance run, not to mention a stellar play at third. Former Pirates one and all -- thank you, Dave Littlefield. Nobody's saying the Pirates GM made bad moves in dealing these players away, but it's clear the Cubs wouldn't be here without them.
Cubs offense: Scored enough to win, but couldn't take advantage of any of the Braves' four errors. Cubs batters have stranded 25 runners in the series. The pitching staff has carried them this far, but sooner or later they're going to have to deliver if the Cubs hope to win their first World Series since 1908.
Five peaches: Sweet
Four peaches: Peachy keen
Three peaches: Nice and juicy, but you're out of napkins
Two peaches: Not ripe yet
One peach: Rotten
Greg Maddux: In possibly his final start with the Braves, the old warrior provided Atlanta with a gutty effort, allowing only two first-inning runs over six innings. He must have felt as if he was watching clips of himself circa 1992, his last year with Cubs and first Cy Young season, as young Mark Prior dominated the Braves with precision and guile.
Two-headed monster: Mark DeRosa and Marcus Giles provided both hits in Game 3, and Giles' sacrifice fly to score DeRosa in the eighth netted the Braves their only run. The dynamic second base duo has knocked in four of the Braves' seven runs in the series ... a little help anyone?
Bats? What Bats?: The National League's most-potent offense is hitting just .191 with three extra-base hits in the Division Series and been limited to seven runs. They say good pitching beats good hitting, but this has been near domination.
Braves defense: It didn't end up costing them a run, but the Braves tied a Division Series record by commiting four errors in Game 3. If they boot many more, they'll soon find themselves booted from the postseason.
Jim Banks is an executive editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.