Braves, Giants reach final day neck and neck Atlanta piles it on against Colorado, 10-1


ATLANTA -- It has become a numbers game of spectacular dimensions for the Atlanta Braves, but through 161 games it still adds up to only a tie with the San Francisco Giants for the National League West lead.

Go figure.

A 10-1 rout of the Colorado Rockies yesterday represented a franchise-record 103rd victory for the Braves, but they will need 104 or more to win this race.

"Frustrated?" general manager John Schuerholz said of the inability to put the Giants away. "If there's frustration it stems from the feeling we're a championship team and we want to prove it."

After today's dramatic conclusion of the regular season, the Braves still might have to prove it by defeating the Giants tomorrow night in a playoff in San Francisco.

They have gotten no help from the Dodgers while improving their season record against the Rockies to 12-0.

That and those 103 victories are only a partial yardstick of the Braves' season. They are also 53-19 since the All-Star break, 50-17 with Fred McGriff, and have won 21 of their past 28 games.

In addition:

* Greg Maddux improved to 20-10 yesterday, giving up four hits and an unearned run in seven innings. With Tom Glavine at 21-6 as he faces the Rockies today, it's the first time the Braves have had two 20-game winners since 1959, when Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette won 21 each for Milwaukee.

* McGriff drove in his 100th run with a sixth-inning double to give the Braves three players with 100 RBI. David Justice has 119 and Ron Gant 115. The Toronto Blue Jays are the only other team with three: Joe Carter, Paul Molitor and John Olerud.

Atlanta is averaging 5.8 runs for the 67 games since McGriff arrived to relieve some of the offensive stress. A 14-hit bombardment of Armando Reynoso and four successors yesterday was typical.

Terry Pendleton, who drove in five runs Friday, drove in three more with a triple, single and groundout.

Maddux, eyeing a second consecutive Cy Young Award after a second consecutive 20-victory season, improved his major league-low ERA to 2.36. He also leads the NL in innings and complete games and is third in strikeouts.

"Because of the race I haven't thought a lot about it," he said of winning 20, "but I always assumed it would be tough to do twice, so this means a lot to me. It's amazing Tommy [Glavine] has done it three times."

Maddux said he checked the scoreboard every time he walked to the mound "but just tried to do the things mechanically and mentally I have to do. Ten runs made it easy. It didn't matter who was pitching."

AFTER 161 GAMES . . .

Team ... ... ... ... W ... ... L ... ... Pct. ... ... GB

Atlanta ... .. .. .. 103 .. .. 58 .. ... .640 ... ... --

San Fran. ... ... .. 103 .. .. 58 .. ... .640 ... ... --


Atlanta 10, Colorado 1

San Fran. 5, Los Angeles 3



Colorado (Nied, 5-8, 4.97)

at Atlanta (Glavine, 21-6, 3.17)

1:10 p.m., TBS

San Francisco (Torres, 3-4, 3.70)

at L.A. (Gross, 12-13, 4.28)

4:05 p.m., ESPN

PLAYOFF (if necessary)

At San Francisco, Tomorrow, 10:35 p.m., ESPN

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