Julio Franco hit a tiebreaking, three-run double off Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth, and the Atlanta Braves rallied past the visiting Chicago Cubs, 5-2, last night.
In the game only because rookie Adam LaRoche fouled a pitch off his foot earlier, Franco fought back from an 0-2 count by fouling off five straight pitches at one point. He eventually worked the count full, then drove a fastball from Farnsworth over Sammy Sosa's head in right.
That capped a four-run inning and gave the Braves the win a night after they blew a 1-0 lead in the ninth. The comeback spoiled a marvelous outing by Cubs right-hander Sergio Mitre, who pitched five-hit ball over 72/3 innings and was in line to get his first big league win.
He left in favor of Andy Pratt after allowing a two-out single to Marcus Giles in the eighth with the Cubs leading 2-1. Pratt (0-1), who was traded to the Cubs by the Braves late in spring training, walked Chipper Jones and J.D. Drew to load the bases, and was replaced by Farnsworth.
Farnsworth threw three straight balls to Andruw Jones, then came back with two strikes before missing low and away to bring home Giles with the tying run. A batter later, Franco brought in everyone.
Antonio Alfonseca (1-0) got two outs in the eighth to pick up the win, and Kevin Gryboski pitched the ninth for his first career save.
* DODGERS 7, ROCKIES 4: Adrian Beltre homered and drove in three runs, and Milton Bradley hit his first home run to lead host Los Angeles.
Hideo Nomo (1-1) yielded two runs and four hits in six innings and struck out seven, after giving up seven runs and two homers over five innings last Monday against San Diego in an 8-2 Opening Day loss. The Dodgers have won four in a row since then, and have beaten Colorado nine straight times.
Jeromy Burnitz, who split last season with the Dodgers and Mets, hit his first home run for Colorado.
* EXPOS 1, METS 0: John Patterson pitched seven stellar innings in his Montreal debut, and Peter Bergeron's two-out RBI single in the seventh sent the Expos to a win over New York in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The teams split the first two games of their series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, where the Expos will play 22 "home" games for the second consecutive season.
* MARLINS 5, PHILLIES 3: In Miami, Hee Seop Choi homered twice and Miguel Cabrera's two-run shot propelled Florida over Philadelphia.
The victory capped a special day for the Marlins, who received their elaborate World Series rings before the game.
* REDS 3, PIRATES 1: D'Angelo Jimenez drove in a pair of runs and host Cincinnati extended its best start in 10 years.
At 4-1, the Reds are three games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 19, 2002, when they were still playing at Cinergy Field.
* BREWERS 6, ASTROS 1: Ben Sheets struck out a career-high 10 in six scoreless innings, and Wes Helms hit a three-run homer to lead Milwaukee at home. Sheets (1-0) has beaten the Astros seven straight times since losing his first two decisions against them in 2001.
* PADRES 6, GIANTS 4: Host San Diego kept Barry Bonds in the yard for the second straight game and Phil Nevin had four hits to tie his career high in the win over San Francisco.
Bonds remained on hold with 659 home runs, one behind his godfather, Willie Mays, for third place on the career list.
* CARDINALS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 2: Scott Rolen homered twice and drove in five runs to power St. Louis to victory in Phoenix.