Braves 8, Expos 2

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ATLANTA (AP)—When he made contact with a slider from Livan Hernandez in the seventh inning, Nick Green knew the ball had a chance to clear the left-field wall.

The matter of what to do after his first career home run was more perplexing for the Atlanta Braves rookie.

Following much coaxing from teammate Chipper Jones and hitting coach Terry Pendleton, Green agreed to a curtain call after his three-run homer highlighted a six-run seventh inning Monday in the Braves’ 8-2 win over the Montreal Expos.

“I didn’t know I was supposed to go out there until Chipper yelled at me that I needed to go,” Green said. “I hope they saw me. I only went up to the top step of the dugout.”

Green said he would have tipped his cap for the fans, but by the time he reached the top step, he wasn’t wearing his cap.

“I just waved my hand,” he said.

Green was called up May 14 from Triple-A Richmond—where he hadn’t hit any home runs. Due to Marcus Giles’ broken collarbone, Green may be the Braves’ starting second baseman for another six weeks.

Green has 60 career homers in five minor league seasons, but he laughed when asked if he had any previous experience with curtain calls.

“No, I’ve been playing in the minor leagues,” he said.

Green, a career .256 hitter in the minors, led the International League with a .377 average when he was called up, and he has impressed Braves manager Bobby Cox with strong defense.

With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning and a runner on third with two outs, Montreal manager Frank Robinson elected to walk Rafael Furcal and have Hernandez pitch to Green, who in three previous at-bats had two strikeouts and a sacrifice.

“I tried to throw a slider down and away, and he made contact,” Hernandez said.

The 1-0 pitch was inside instead of down and away, and Green pulled the pitch 391 feet.

“I didn’t know where it went, but I hit it well enough to get out, I knew that,” Green said.

Montreal reliever Chad Bentz replaced Hernandez and walked two batters before giving up a run-scoring single to Johnny Estrada. Andruw Jones added a two-run double off Luis Ayala to cap the six-run inning.

“We were not making good pitches with two outs,” Robinson said. “We gave up big hits. They got people on with two outs.”

Seven of the Braves’ eight runs were scored with two outs.

Hernandez (3-5) gave up a season-high five runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. He has allowed 13 runs in his last three starts, all losses.

Russ Ortiz (6-4) threw six shutout innings before giving up a two-run homer to Brian Schneider in the seventh that tied it 2-2.

“Both pitchers did a tremendous job of keeping the ball in the ballpark because the ball was jumping today as much as I’ve ever seen,” Cox said.

Hernandez did not allow a hit until J.D. Drew led off the fourth inning by smashing a high, hanging curveball 424 feet into the right-field seats for his 10th homer. After homering just three times in April, Drew hit seven in May, including six in the last 19 games.

Atlanta pushed the lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning. With runners on first and second, Estrada’s grounder skipped under first baseman Nick Johnson’s glove, allowing Furcal to score from second.

Ortiz gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. In his last threestarts, all wins, he has given up a total of three earned runs.


Rookie Mike Hessman started at first base for the second straight game, but he dropped from fifth to eighth in the lineup. Hessman became the ninth player to be tried in the No. 8 slot by the Braves this season. … Brad Wilkerson hit leadoff for Montreal for the fourth straight game and did not reach base in four at-bats. Endy Chavez was the No. 2 hitter. … Ortiz won his last three starts of the month to finish 4-1 in May. … Hernandez is 0-5 at Turner Field in the regular season. … Green traded two autographed balls to afan for the home-run ball.

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