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By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000


Catcher pitches, topples Braves

DENVER -- Colorado manager Buddy Bell was bordering on desperation when he spotted injured catcher Brent Mayne in the clubhouse.

The conversation that followed will remain forever etched in Mayne's mind.

"Can you pitch?" Bell asked.

"Yeah, I can pitch," Mayne replied, fibbing slightly as he realized he was on the verge of fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Having run out of pitchers in a 6-6 game, Bell sent Mayne in for what became a historic performance. He became the first position player in 32 years to win a major-league game.

"From a personal note, I wanted to get out there and pitch, try it out," Mayne said Wednesday. "That's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I never even thought about getting the win. Later, I thought, "Wow! I can get the win right here. This is even better.' "

Mayne, who had missed four games with a sprained left wrist, pitched the 12th in Colorado's 7-6 victory over the Braves.

Mayne is the first position player to win since outfielder Rocky Colavito threw 22/3 shutout innings for the Yankees against the Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 25, 1968. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was New York's third baseman.

"I didn't remember it until somebody mentioned Colavito after the game," Cox said. "I was too busy thinking about how they got Chipper out."

On any other night, Colorado rookie Adam Melhuse would have been the hero. Pinch-hitting for Mayne with two outs and the bases loaded, Melhuse singled to left for his first hit in seven at-bats.

Mayne, who said he never had pitched at any level, retired pitcher Tom Glavine and shortstop Walt Weiss on fastballs that topped out at 83 mph. Rafael Furcal's single forced Mayne to pitch from the stretch.

"I was thinking, "What is the balk (rule)? Can I go in my glove and take the ball out of my glove?' " he said. "That was probably the most nerve-racking thing."

He walked Andruw Jones, then retired reigning NL MVP Chipper Jones on a check-swing grounder to third.

"It's a lose-lose situation," Chipper Jones said. "If you get a hit, you're supposed to, and if you don't, you're a geek."

The 10 Rockies pitchers tied the NL record set by the Cubs against the Pirates in a 17-inning game in 1986.

Wednesday, Mayne said his elbow was a little sore, but he otherwise felt good after a game that featured 44 players, an 11th-inning brawl and three ejections.

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