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Maddux helps put Braves in control

Atlanta ace wins first postseason game in three years, 10-2 over Giants.

©Associated Press

October 6, 2002

Atlanta ace wins first postseason game in three years, 10-2 over Giants.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Greg Maddux looked like a fine postseason pitcher this time around, doing more than enough to get Atlanta closer to another NL Championship Series.

Maddux shook his past playoff blunders, winning his first postseason game in three years as the Braves beat the Giants 10-2 Saturday to take a 2-1 lead in their division series.

And the Braves got big hits from two unlikely sources.

Former Ray Vinny Castilla, who hit .232 during the season, had a two-run single, and Keith Lockhart, a nonroster invitee to spring training, added a three-run homer in Atlanta's five-run sixth.

Maddux gave up another late-inning homer to Barry Bonds after Atlanta had taken control but allowed only four other hits in six innings. He ended a four-game postseason losing streak and avoided tying teammate Tom Glavine for the most losses in the playoffs and World Series.

Maddux doesn't care what his critics say. He won 16 games to register at least 15 for the 15th straight season, a feat accomplished by only Maddux and Cy Young.

"There are a lot more things I'm worried about than what people think," Maddux said. "I don't worry about it. I want to pitch for the right reasons, and that's not the right reason. The 24 guys in here is why you pitch."

Maddux's start had been pushed to Game 3 because of a blister on his throwing hand, which began to bother him as he got deeper into the game Saturday.

Glavine, the Game 1 loser, starts Game 4 of the best-of-five series today against Livan Hernandez. The Braves have been to nine of the past 10 league championship series.

Pitcher Jason Schmidt's first postseason appearance ended in disappointment after a strong start. With one out in the sixth, he gave up consecutive walks to Gary Sheffield, Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones before giving way to Manny Aybar with the bases loaded.

Two pitches later, the Braves had scored five to break a tie at 1. Castilla, hitting .400 in the series, drove in two with his single to left, and Lockhart followed with a drive that barely reached the arcade atop the elevated rightfield fence.

It was Lockhart's first homer in exactly three months. He had four RBIs for the game.

"I've gotten some hits, but that's probably the biggest," Lockhart said. "I'll enjoy it. We talked earlier how there were not many in the season, but the ones I've had have been pretty timely."

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