Braves find unlikely hero in seldom-used Borbon Jr.


CLEVELAND -- The Atlanta Braves' seemingly comfortable lead suddenly wasn't so comfortable. Cleveland's Manny Ramirez had led off the ninth inning with a home run and Paul Sorrento had followed with a ringing double. The Braves led 5-2 last night, but closer Mark Wohlers was leaving the mound, ineffective after pitching 2 2/3 innings the night before, and Cleveland seemed on the verge of putting together one of its patened last-ditch comebacks.

But then manager Bobby Cox called on an unlikely hero for Atlanta: left-hander Pedro Borbon Jr., son of the former Reds reliever.

Despite having not appeared in a game in 19 days and throwing just one inning in the postseason, Borbon was up to the task. He struck out Jim Thome and Sandy Alomar, then retired Kenny Lofton on a fly to end the game.

"It was like a dream come true," Borbon said. "I can't describe my feelings right now. I'm just glad it happened so I'll have this to remember."

Closer look at Belle

Indians outfielder Albert Belle may face disciplinary action from the Commissioner's Office and the American League for a dugout tirade in which he was verbally abusive to several members of the press.

Belle angrily cleared out the dugout before Game 3 and shouted at NBC sports' Hannah Storm while she was doing an on-camera interview. No official complaint was levied by Storm or any of the media members, but baseball officials said they are looking into the incident.

"Officially, it is what we consider abusive behavior toward her and the media," said Jim Small of the Commissioner's Office. "Obviously, it was not appropriate. It is something we are concerned about and something [acting commissioner] Bud Selig and [AL president] Gene Budig are going to look at."

The Indians would not comment on any action on their part.

"It has been our policy to keep things like that internal," said manager Mike Hargrove. "What's done internally, stays there."

Media-friendly Braves

There have been few unpleasant incidents between the Braves and the media, which Wohlers credits to general manager John Schuerholz and his decision to bring in consultant Andrea Kirby as the club's media coach a few years ago.

"That helped us learn about the media and how to understand what they do," said Wohlers, who has had to deal with reporters a lot more this year as the club's No. 1 closer. "You've got to take the good with the bad.

Oh no, not him again

Cleveland's Orel Hershiser matches up tonight again with Braves ace Greg Maddux, who went the distance and gave up just two hits in Game 1. Hershiser held his own, with three hits in six-plus innings, but he conceded before last night's game that he'll face the same result if Maddux continues to pitch the way he did Saturday.

"To face our lineup and give up just two singles, that's an absolutely awesome performance," Hershiser said. "If he can re-create that, he deserves to win tomorrow."

Off the bench

The Braves' vaunted bench figures to take a beating in the off-season, when outfielders Mike Devereaux and Luis Polonia go looking for full-time work.

Devereaux figures to find it after a strong season as a platoon outfielder with the Chicago White Sox and an MVP performance in the NL Championship Series for the Braves. Polonia hopes he'll also find a regular position.

"I came here to pinch hit . . . I knew what the role would be, and I'm excited to be in the World Series," said Polonia, who had a key double last night. "But next year, I'm looking for a team that will give me a chance to be an everyday player. I'm 30 years old. I've still got something to prove."

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