If the New York Mets were casting ballots, Chipper Jones probably would be a unanimous MVP.
Almost single-handedly, the Atlanta third baseman powered a sweep of the Mets, homering four times in three games to turn the NL East showdown into a rout.
Jones finished off his remarkable hitting display yesterday with a three-run shot in the Braves' 6-3 victory at Turner Field.
"There's still some games left, but he's the MVP right now," Greg Maddux said. "Look at what that guy has done down the stretch. To me, that carries more weight than the first three months of the season."
Maddux (19-8) will get no argument from the Mets, who came to Atlanta only one game back in the East but departed with a four-game deficit and only nine to play.
CUBS 8, PIRATES 5: At least Sammy Sosa got a hit in this one.
Sosa, who was 1 for 9 in the three-game series with Mark McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals, went homerless for a fourth straight game. But he had an RBI single and scored another run as Chicago won at Wrigley Field.
Mark Grace hit a two-run homer and drove in another run, and Micah Bowie (2-6) got his first victory since Aug. 21.
BREWERS 11, PHILLIES 6: Jeromy Burnitz figured it was a nice day for a walk in the park, and Philadelphia obliged.
Burnitz drew four walks and scored each time, and Ron Belliard homered and drove in four runs in Milwaukee.
"I'd rather swing away," said Burnitz, who leads the Brewers with 33 homers and 100 RBI. "I want to hit the ball, but it depends on what's going on in the game. If you need runs and you walk and end up scoring, you'd rather do that."
DODGERS 5, GIANTS 3: Chan Ho Park won his sixth straight decision to lead Los Angeles at home. The Giants' loss means the Arizona Diamondbacks gain at least a tie for the NL West title.
MARLINS 2, EXPOS 1: Rookie A.J. Burnett won his second straight start, and Florida took advantage of Montreal's sloppy play to win in Miami.