The Braves Report: Braves Squash Roach

<U><B>Braves 5, Mets 3</B></U> <BR> Shane Reynolds shut down the team that tried to sign him earlier this season and Jung Bong provided timely relief as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Mets 5-3 Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Down on the farm:</B></U> <BR> Chuck Smith returns to form with 7 inning masterpiece for Richmond; Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Rome with off days; Steve Russel and Ryan Basner help Danville defeat Bluefield.

Shane Reynolds gets to keep his job for another week, as does Vinny Castilla, as the Braves win their 5th in a row, defeating the Mets, 5-3.

Reynolds breaks a string of 3 straight losses, dating back to June 22nd, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings of work. He pitched himself out a couple of jams in the second and third innings, allowing just one run between the two. Jeromy Burnitz touched Reynolds up for a solo homer in the 5th, but for the most part, Reynolds kept the Mets in check, and more importantly, kept the Braves in the game.

The Braves offense did their part in the victory, especially Vinny Castilla, who was 2-for-5 with 3 RBI on the night. Atlanta got on the board first again tonight, as Gary Sheffield drove in Marcus Giles in the 1st inning, staking the Braves to a 1-0 lead. Robert Fick and Castilla each had RBI singles in the 4th, and Castilla added a two-run homer in the 6th, putting the Braves up 5-2. Giles had a multi-hit performance for the second night in a row, going 3-for-4, and Javy Lopez added a 2-for-5 night.

It wasn't all wine and roses at the plate though, as Atlanta let two huge scoring opportunities slip past them in the late innings, leaving the bases loaded in both the 7th and 8th innings without scoring any runs.

Those runs would have provided for a more comfortable win, as Roberto Hernandez ran into trouble in the 8th inning. Ray King pitched a scoreless 7th in relief of Reynolds, and then it was Roberto time in the 8th. Two walks, a hit, and an error later, Hernandez was yanked with the bases loaded and the Braves lead cut to 5-3. Lefty Jung Bong entered the game to turn around switch-hitting Roger Cedeno. The move worked out perfectly, as Cedeno hit an 0-2 offering right back to Bong, who started a perfect 1-2-3 double play. It was a thing of beauty.

John Smoltz locked up his 33rd save in the 9th, giving up 1 hit and striking out one in the process.

The victory was the 5th straight for Atlanta. They go for the sweep and their 6th in a row, as possible All-Star starter Russ Ortiz (11-4) takes on former Brave Tom Glavine (6-8) in the final game of this three game series. First pitch is set for 12:10 ET.

Down on the farm

Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 4, Richmond Braves 1 -- The R-Braves committed 3 errors in the game, and Joe Dawley allowed all 4 runs - 2 earned - in the 9th, as the Braves fall to the Red Wings, 4-1. The loss spoils a strong pitching performance by starter Chuck Smith, who went 7 innings, giving up 3 hits and striking out 7. C Johnny Estrada drove in the only Braves run on a 1-for-3 performance.

Greenville Braves -- All-Star break

Myrtle Beach Pelicans -- Scheduled off day

Rome Braves -- Scheduled off day

Bluefield Orioles 1, Danville Braves 4 -- 1B Greg Donato was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, and CF Matt Esquivel went 2-for-4 with 2 runs, as the Braves handle the Orioles, 4-1. Steve Russell improved to 2-1 with the victory, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, with 4 strikeouts and no walks, in 5 innings. Ryan Basner tossed 3 hitless innings in relief, and Glen Tucker picked up his 3rd save with a perfect 9th.

Orlando Braves 6, Jupiter Expos 7 -- Eduardo Rosario was roughed up to the tune of 6 runs on 9 hits in 3 innings, as the Braves fall to the Expos, 7-6. 2B Brian Stoecklein was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, and 1B Keith Eichas homered for the second straight game, going 1-for-4 with an RBI in the loss.

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