Braves greet Austin with three homers

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By David Mordkoff Associated Press In his last start, Jeff Austin failed to retire a batter while giving up five runs and four walks. Against the Atlanta Braves he tried a different approach. After that last outing, I didnt want to walk anybody, Austin said. So I threw strikes, and they hit them. Did they ever. Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield began the game with back-to-back-to-back homers against Austin, as Atlanta routed visiting Cincinnati 15-3 on Wednesday night. Atlanta became only the second team in major league history to start a game with three straight homers. The only other team to accomplish the feat was the San Diego Padres. Marvelle Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk homered in a row against San Francisco on April 13, 1987. Ill be darned, Braves manager Bobby Cox said. Thats only the second time its ever happened? Im sure its the first Ive ever seen it. In other games, Chicago beat Pittsburgh 5-4, Philadelphia crushed New York 11-3, St. Louis beat Houston 3-1, Colorado shut out Los Angeles 6-0, San Francisco routed Arizona 10-2, San Diego edged Milwaukee 8-6, and Florida swept a doubleheader from Montreal, winning 4-3 and 6-0. Even after the three straight home runs, the Braves werent finished with Austin. Later in the same inning, Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer that finally chased the Reds starter. Austin became the first pitcher in 11 years to get knocked out of two straight starts without making it through the first. Last Friday, he was rocked by the Marlins in the first inning of an 8-4 loss. The last pitcher to get knocked out of two straight starts in the first was Clevelands Scott Scudder in 1992. Austin was sent down to Triple-A Louisville after the game. My goodness, this team is definitely better without me on it, he said. Im surprised Ive stayed here this long. The Braves tied a franchise record with four homers in an inning. They finished with six, the most in a game since May 31, 1996, at Cincinnati. Furcal homered again in the second for the first two-homer game of his career. Matt Franco also homered for Atlanta. Russ Ortiz, who was given an 11-0 lead after three innings, pitched six innings for the win, giving up two hits and two runs. Cardinals 3, Astros 1 Jason Simontacchi pitched a six-hitter for the first complete game of his career as St. Louis beat Houston at Busch Stadium. Simontacchi walked none and struck out five in his 34th major league start. Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds bruised ribs on his right side making a lunging catch in the second. He will be sidelined for at least the next few days. Rockies 6, Dodgers 0 Shawn Chacon allowed two hits over eight innings and hit a two-run single as Colorado defeated Los Angeles. Chacon and Vic Darensbourg combined to throw only the 23rd shutout at Coors Field in nine seasons. All three shutouts by the Rockies this season were started by Chacon. The Rockies beat the Dodgers for the second straight game after Los Angeles came to Denver with a 10-game winning streak. Mark Sweeney hit a two-run homer for Colorado. Padres 8, Brewers 6 In a matchup of two of baseballs worst teams in San Diego, Gary Bennett hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth to give the Padres the win over Milwaukee. Bennetts first homer of the season, on a 1-1 pitch from Luis Vizcaino, barely cleared the left-field fence. It was the catchers first homer in 163 at-bats. San Diegos Brian Buchanan tied his career highs with four hits and four RBIs. It was just the fifth victory in 30 games for the Padres (15-38), who have the NLs worst record. San Diego had lost four straight games over the previous nine days to the Brewers (19-33), who have the NLs second-worst record. Giants 10, Diamondbacks 2 Benito Santiago homered twice, the 11th multihomer game of his career, as San Francisco routed Arizona. Santiago hit both of his homers off Diamondbacks starter John Patterson to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Barry Bonds hit his 13th homer of the season and 626th of his career. The Diamondbacks have lost five straight in Pacific Bell Park. Cubs 5, Pirates 4 All five of Chicagos runs at Wrigley Field came on homers as the Cubs halted Pittsburghs three-game winning streak. Damian Miller hit a three-run homer and Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run drive for Chicago. Mark Prior struck out eight in 7 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits. Pittsburghs Kenny Lofton, who has the majors longest active hitting streak at 25 games was given the day off. Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected in the second inning for arguing with the umpires. It was his second ejection of the season. Marlins 4, Expos 3, 1st game Marlins 6, Expos 0, 2nd game Florida extended its winning streak to six games with a doubleheader sweep. It is the Marlins longest winning streak since a six-game string from Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 2000. Florida left-hander Michael Tejera pitched six shutout innings to get the win in the second game, only one night after his house was burglarized. He found out about the burglary when his wife called him at the stadium Tuesday night. Phillies 11, Mets 3 Five Phillies homered as Philadelphia trounced New York at Veterans Stadium. Ricky Ledee and Bobby Abreu hit three-run homers, while Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco each had solo shots for the Phillies, who stopped a three-game losing streak. The Phillies hadnt hit five homers in a game since May 9, 1999, at Colorado.

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