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World Series 2001
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10/10/2001 01:37 PM ET
Braves Chipper after Game 1 win
By Jim Molony

Braves 7 13 1
Astros 4 6 1
WP: Rudy Seanez (1-0)
LP: Mike Jackson (0-1)
SV: John Smoltz (1)

HR: ATL: Chipper Jones (1), Andruw Jones (1), Brian Jordan (1); HOU: Brad Ausmus (1), Vinny Castilla (1)

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    HOUSTON -- Most people know to let sleeping dogs lie and to never pull Superman's cape. Billy Wagner apparently didn't, but the Houston Astros closer surely does now.

    Only 48 hours earlier Wagner wondered how Houston fans would react when the Astros "stomped" the Braves. Well, after Chipper Jones sent the left-hander's first pitch into the left field seats for a three-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday the world still doesn't know the answer, because the Braves were the ones doing the stomping in a 7-4 victory over the Astros in Game One of their National League Division Series at Enron Field.

    Jones' shot into the left field seats scored Marcus Giles and Julio Franco, who had reached via single and error, respectively, and broke open a 3-3 tie. Brian Jordan and Andruw Jones also contributed homers for the Braves.

        Chipper Jones   /   LF
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 210
    Bats/Throws: S/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Hit chart
    Braves site
    "When Wagner came in I was thinking 'If he throws a first pitch fastball Chipper will be ready to go,'" Jordan said. "This team has really come together in the last couple of weeks, I think we've jelled as a team and to get this win really takes the pressure off us, to get out of here with at least one win before we go home is really a boost for us."

    Chipper Jones, who said he was unaware of Wagner's comment, is a friend of the pitcher and the two men have a hunting trip planned for the postseason. As far as Chipper knew moments after the game, that trip hasn't been called off.

    "Hopefully our friendship goes beyond (hitting a game-winning homer off Wagner)," Jones said with a grin. "He's had success against me in the past, today I was able to have some success against him."

    The Braves third baseman had come to the plate 0-for-8 with six strikeouts against Wagner previously.

    Chipper Jones broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run homer on Billy Wagner's first pitch.
    "We all know how we do against the hitters," Wagner said. "I was the happiest person when (Javy) Lopez wasn't playing. The guy's hitting 1.000 off me. Chipper wasn't doing very well, and that's what happens. That's the way it is."

    With Houston leading 3-2 Jackson (0-1) gave up a double to pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart to start the seventh. Jackson fanned pinch-hitter Ken Caminiti but Giles followed with a grounder up the middle just beyond the reach of a diving Craig Biggio.

    "With Giles I knew I had to try to get a ground ball, I know he likes to hit the ball the other way," Jackson said. "My intentions were to try to get him to hit the ball on the ground. I threw him a slider and he just got it past Biggio. Then after he got the base hit I said, 'Ok, I've got (Julio) Franco and I've faced him several times over the years.' I knew I could get him to get a ground ball."

    Jackson got the ground ball, but Julio Lugo booted it for an error and both runners with safe. And that brought Chipper Jones to the plate and Wagner to the mound.

    "That's the way the game goes," Jackson said. "You don't make excuses. We didn't make the plays and that's the way the game goes. We've got to come back tomorrow and it's a little bit tougher now, but we've got to win one of these games."

    The five runs in their final two at bats turned the game -- and the momentum of the series -- around for Atlanta. The Astros had led 3-2 entering the eighth, but now find themselves down one game and with long-time nemesis Tom Glavine set to face them in Game Two. Glavine hasn't lost to Houston since 1995 and is 8-0 with a 2.48 ERA since then.

    All this after wasting a solid effort by Wade Miller.

    Miller, a 25-year-old right-hander making his postseason debut, outdueled Atlanta's four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux before leaving the game after seven innings and leading 3-2. Miller limited the National League East Division champions to two runs and seven hits while striking out seven. He did not walk a batter.

    "He pitched a great game, he should have been the winning pitcher," Houston manager Larry Dierker said of Miller.

    "I was hoping since we got a couple of runs off him early Miller would lose some confidence," Jordan said. "But he didn't, he just got stronger and stronger as the game went on."

    Brian Jordan watches his third-inning solo shot leave Enron Field.
    The Astros had taken the lead with an unearned run in the sixth. Lugo reached when Atlanta shortstop Rey Sanchez bobbled Lugo's grounder for an error and advanced to second on Jeff Bagwell's single to right. Lance Berkman forced Bagwell at second with a ground out, with Lugo taking third on the play. Alou then hit a slow roller to short to drive in Lugo to give the Astros a 3-2 edge.

    After getting shut out for four innings, the Astros finally broke through against Maddux in the fifth. Richard Hidalgo walked with one out and when Maddux tried to sneak a 1-0 pitch by Ausmus the catcher lined it into the concourse in left center field to tie the game at 2-2. Ausmus' shot woke up the crowd of 35,553, most of them -- including former President and First Lady Barbara Bush who watched the game from Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr.'s box behind home plate -- waving towels and calling for Ausmus to make a curtain call.

    "I threw a slider to Ausmus and he took a pretty good swing at it," Maddux said. "I'm glad we were able to come back and get the win. That is a solid lineup (the Astros) have. I think I pitched aout as well as I can pitch and I still gave up three runs. If those guys were in Colorado it would be a joke." Until that moment the Astros hadn't given the fans much to cheer about.

    Maddux allowed only four baserunners during the first four innings and only one of them made it as far as second base. A pair of double-plays gutted two Houston scoring opportunities and Maddux was further helped by Jordan, who drove in two runs with a homer and a sacrifice fly to stake the right-hander to a 2-0 lead by the end of the fourth inning.

    Jordan powered a 1-0 fastball from Miller into the Crawford boxes in left field with the bases empty and two out in the fourth as the Braves increased their lead to 2-0.

    Jordan lifted a sacrifice fly down the left field line to score Giles as Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first. Giles had led off with a base hit to left before moving to third on a one-out single to center by Chipper Jones. Jordan got enough of a 2-2 breaking ball from Miller to score Giles. Ausmus threw out Jones attempting to steal second with B.J. Surhoff at the plate to end the inning.

    Andruw Jones robbed Moises Alou of an extra base hit in the second with a diving catch of Alou's drive to the gap in right center. Vinny Castilla followed with a single to right and Maddux walked Hidalgo. But the veteran right-hander avoided further trouble by inducing Ausmus to ground into an inning-ending double play.

    The Braves threatened in the seventh, putting runners on first and second with one out, but Miller got pinch hitter Dave Martinez to hit into a double play.

    Maddux went six innings and allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Maddux, who made his 27th postseason and ninth Division Series appearances, is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA against the Astros in four playoff games.

    Andruw Jones homered off Mike Williams in the ninth to account for Atlanta's final run. Vinny Castilla added a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth for Houston.

    The Astros, who have never won a postseason series, have blown six saves since the last time an Astro recorded a save -- Joaquin Andujar in Game 2 of the 1980 NLCS against Philadelphia. That incidentally, is the only postseason save ever recorded by an Astro. And now they've lost seven of their last eight postseason games against the Braves.

    The Astros, however, say they aren't panicking.

    "It's 1-0 in a five-game series, there's not really much pressure on us," Ausmus said. "I'm sure if you watch ESPN and the local news and the news in Atlanta they'll say the Astros have to win tomorrow. It would be very tough to go to Atlanta with a 2-0 deficit.

    "So much is made of winning the first game and how it is such an advantage to the team that does it, but I don't know that there is any pressure on us. Maybe people don't expect us to do anything now that we are down 1-0. If we can sneak in the back door -- fine."

    Jim Molony is a regional writer for based in Houston.

    Box score


    ATLANTA ab r h rbi bb so lob avg M Giles 2b 4 2 2 1 0 1 0 .500 Smoltz p 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 Ju Franco 1b 5 1 2 0 0 1 4 .400 C Jones 3b 4 1 2 3 0 1 2 .500 B Jordan rf 3 1 1 2 0 2 1 .333 Surhoff lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 .250 A Jones cf 4 1 2 1 0 2 0 .500 R Sanchez ss 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 a-Da Martinez ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 Derosa ss 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 Bako c 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 b-Lockhart ph-2b 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 .500 G Maddux p 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 c-Caminiti ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 Torrealba c 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000

    Totals 37 7 13 7 0 9 13

    a-grounded to second for R Sanchez in the 7th; b-doubled for Bako in the 8th; c-struck out for Seanez in the 8th.

    BATTING: 2B - Lockhart (1, M Jackson); Torrealba (1, Mi Williams). HR - B Jordan (1, 4th inning off W Miller 0 on, 2 out); C Jones (1, 8th inning off B Wagner 2 on, 1 out); A Jones (1, 9th inning off Mi Williams 0 on, 0 out). SF - B Jordan. RBI - B Jordan 2 (2), M Giles (1), C Jones 3 (3), A Jones (1). 2-out RBI - B Jordan. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - Ju Franco 2. GIDP - Da Martinez. Team LOB - 4.

    BASERUNNING: CS - C Jones (1, 2nd base by W Miller/Ausmus); Ju Franco (1, 2nd base by W Miller/Ausmus).

    FIELDING: E - R Sanchez (1, ground ball). DP: 2 (R Sanchez-M Giles-Ju Franco 2).

    HOUSTON ab r h rbi bb so lob avg Biggio 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 .250 Lugo ss 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 .000 b-Vizcaino ph-ss 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 Bagwell 1b 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 .333 L Berkman lf 4 0 1 0 0 2 3 .250 Alou rf 4 0 0 1 0 1 1 .000 Castilla 3b 4 1 2 1 0 1 1 .500 Hidalgo cf 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 .000 Ausmus c 4 1 1 2 0 0 3 .250 W Miller p 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 a-O Merced ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 M Jackson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 B Wagner p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Mi Williams p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 c-D Ward ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

    Totals 32 4 6 4 4 6 11

    a-fouled to catcher for W Miller in the 7th; b-struck out for Lugo in the 8th; c-flied to left for Mi Williams in the 9th.

    BATTING: HR - Ausmus (1, 5th inning off G Maddux 1 on, 1 out); Castilla (1, 9th inning off Smoltz 0 on, 0 out). RBI - Ausmus 2 (2), Alou (1), Castilla (1). Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - Castilla 1. GIDP - Ausmus, Lugo. Team LOB - 5.

    FIELDING: E - Lugo (1, ground ball). DP: 2 (Ausmus-Lugo, Lugo-Biggio-Bagwell).

    -------------------------------------------------- Atlanta - 100 100 041 -- 7 Houston - 000 021 001 -- 4


    ATLANTA ip h r er bb so hr era G Maddux 6 4 3 2 3 5 1 3.00 Seanez (W, 1-0) 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 Smoltz (S, 1) 2 2 1 1 0 1 1 4.50

    HOUSTON ip h r er bb so hr era W Miller 7 7 2 2 0 6 1 2.57 M Jackson (L, 0-1; BS, 6) 1/3 2 3 2 0 1 0 54.00 B Wagner 2/3 1 1 1 0 1 1 13.50 Mi Williams 1 3 1 1 0 1 1 9.00

    Pitches-strikes: W Miller 92-64; M Jackson 16-10; B Wagner 10-7; Mi Williams 15-10; G Maddux 86-59; Seanez 16-10; Smoltz 19-15. Ground balls-fly balls: W Miller 4-9; M Jackson 0-0; B Wagner 1-0; Mi Williams 1-1; G Maddux 8-5; Seanez 1-2; Smoltz 1-4. Batters faced: W Miller 25; M Jackson 4; B Wagner 3; Mi Williams 6; G Maddux 24; Seanez 4; Smoltz 8.

    UMPIRES: HP--Bruce Froemming. 1B--Chuck Meriwether. 2B--Mike Winters. 3B--Brian Gorman. LF--Jim Joyce. RF--Mike Everitt. T--2:51. Att--35,557. Weather: 80 degrees, partly cloudy. Wind: 10 mph, right to left.