Texas (25-31) at Atlanta (38-19)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Jun 4, 2003
  • TV: ESPN2, FSS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Both Greg Maddux and Rafael Palmeiro have come a long way since their days as rising prospects in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Maddux and Palmeiro will renew acquaintances when the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers continue their interleague series at Turner Field.

Both Maddux and Palmeiro came up through the Cubs’ farm system and made their major league debuts back in 1986. They were teammates in Chicago for two years before Palmeiro was traded to Texas after the 1988 season.

Palmeiro has since become the newest member of baseball’s 500-homer club, while Maddux has earned four Cy Young Awards and is just 23 wins away from 300 for his career.

“It’s been fun to watch him develop through his career,” Maddux said of Palmeiro. “He’s a guy that I’ve always kept an eye on to see how he is doing. I’m happy to see him accomplish what he has. He’s a great guy. You like to see good things happen to guys like that.”

Palmeiro faced Maddux once when he was with Baltimore, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout against the Atlanta ace.

Maddux, who is 4-5 with a 4.90 ERA, is hoping to lead the Braves to their second straight win over the Rangers.

Andruw Jones came off the bench and hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday, lifting the Braves to a 6-5 victory in the series opener.

Jones, who didn’t start because of shoulder and knee injuries, was 2-for-27 as a pinch-hitter before belting his 14th homer of the season. Jones needs one more home run before Thursday to eclipse Hank Aaron as the youngest player to hit 200 in his career.

Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 in his first game at Turner Field as the Rangers lost their fourth straight.

Texas dropped to 2-5 on its season-high 12-game road trip.

STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 13 GB, AL West. Braves - 1st place, NL East.

RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: John Thomson (3-6, 5.17 ERA). Thomson is 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta. The 29-year-old right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA over his last two outings. Thomson allowed six runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings on Friday as Texas lost to Baltimore 8-1. The right-hander has lost four of his last five decisions.

BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Maddux (4-5, 4.90 ERA). Maddux, who will be making his first career start against Texas, has looked more like himself of late, going 1-0 with 1.50 ERA over his last two starts. Maddux ended a five-start winless streak on Friday in a 5-2 win over the New York Mets. The four-time Cy Young Award winner held the Mets to two runs and seven hits over five innings to earn his 277th career win.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Hank Blalock, .355 avg.; Juan Gonzalez, 17 HRs; Carl Everett, 42 RBIs and 46 runs; Rodriguez, 6 SBs. Braves - Gary Sheffield, .347 avg., 14 HRs and 48 RBIs; Rafael Furcal, 54 runs and 11 SBs.

INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Rangers - 0-1; Braves - 1-0.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - OF Everett is batting .214 (3-for-14) in his career against RHP Maddux. … Texas leads the majors with 91 homers. … OF Gonzalez is tied for the AL lead with 17 home runs. Braves - RHP John Smoltz has a major league-leading 21 saves in 22 chances. … Atlanta leads the NL with 85 home runs. … OF Sheffield is 4-for-12 with a home run against RHP Thomson.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 11-17 on the road; Braves - 20-9 at home.

INJURIES: Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Doug Glanville (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (back), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL. Braves - RHP Paul Byrd (back), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Thomson KC vs. G. Maddux LAD
13-14 Record 16-11
4.85 ERA 3.96
136 K 124
49 BB 33
1.30 WHIP 1.18