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Braves Jones, Mets McElroy showing up in the strangest places

The Associated Press

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones ducking into the San Francisco dugout.

Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones ducking into the San Francisco dugout. Mets reliever Chuck McElroy running down a fly ball in left field.

Strange sights, for sure, on Sunday.

At Atlanta, a lightning bolt that struck near Turner Field in the ninth inning sent players scurrying. Giants pinch-hitter Stan Javier dropped his bat in fright while Jones took cover on the opposing bench.

”I got a lot of high-fives in the tunnel,” Jones joked. ”They can fine me if they want to, but I was getting the hell out of there.”

The game resumed after a 34-minute rain delay and the Giants beat the Braves 5-2.

At Shea Stadium, a blowout prompted Mets manager Bobby Valentine to play an odd lineup. Utilityman Matt Franco came in to pitch and McElroy went to the outfield.

McElroy actually made a nice running catch on Craig Counsell’s fly ball, but little else went right for New York in a 14-3 loss to Los Angeles.

Franco made his second appearance on the mound this season, having allowed a home run to Atlanta’s Gerald Williams on July 2.

Franco gave up a run on a single and three walks, and also struck out Dave Hansen.

”The first time was fun,” Franco said. ”This time I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could. Hopefully we won’t be in that position too many more times.”

Raul Mondesi hit two home runs and Dodgers starter Darren Dreifort hit a three-run homer.

Giants starter Kirk Rueter beat the Braves for the first time in six years. He was 1-4 with a 6.22 ERA in 10 previous games against them.

”They’re a great team,” he said. ”To beat them, it takes a good game all around. That’s probably why I haven’t beaten them since ’93.”

Ellis Burks hit his 250th career homer as the Giants avoided a three-game sweep.

Astros 6, Cubs 2

Mike Hampton (16-3) pitched four-hit ball for seven innings to become the NL’s first 16-game winner, and Carl Everett drove in three runs.

The Cubs have lost 13 of 17 games and are 10 games below .500, a season low. Houston, meanwhile, has won 13 of 17 games.

Everett, 9-for-13 with 10 RBIs in the four-game series, homered from both sides of the plate Saturday, and he was the hitting star again Sunday. His single up the middle in the third inning drove in two runs, and he added another RBI single in the fifth.

Micah Bowie (0-3) took the loss.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 1

Kris Benson highlighted his third straight strong start by striking out Mark McGwire with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning in pitching Pittsburgh past St. Louis.

McGwire, who came into Three Rivers Stadium fresh from hitting his 500th and 501st home runs, managed only one single in 10 at-bats during the four-game series.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was ejected by first-base umpire Gary Darling for arguing a called third strike. On Friday night, St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan was tossed, apparently after telling Darling he deserved to be one of the umpires whose resignation was accepted.

Diamondbacks 7, Phillies 4

Armando Reynoso remained unbeaten since April 27 – he’s 7-0 with 10 no-decisions in that span – as Arizona won at Veterans Stadium.

Luis Gonzalez and Damian Miller hit home runs off Chad Ogea. The Diamondbacks lead the NL with 148 homers and Ogea has allowed a league-high 29.

Bobby Abreu went a career-best 5-for-5 for Philadelphia.

Before the game, Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Jim Bunning took part in a tribute honoring the 10 greatest moments in Phillies history this century. The team’s 1980 World Series championship was selected as the top highlight.

Marlins 2, Rockies 1

The Marlins shut down Colorado’s batters and spoiled Jim Leyland’s homecoming in south Florida.

Rookie Ryan Dempster and Antonio Alfonseca teamed on a four-hitter to finish a three-game sweep. The Rockies lead the NL in batting, but were outscored 15-3 in the series and held to only 14 hits.

Expos 4, Padres 2

Chris Widger made up for a costly throwing error, connecting with Shane Andrews for consecutive home runs in the eighth inning that lifted Montreal over San Diego at Olympic Stadium.

Widger made a wild throw into a center field in the sixth, helping the Padres make it 2-all. But the catcher atoned with his go-ahead homer.

Montreal has won seven of nine. The Padres have lost 13 of 16.

Tony Gwynn struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He went 0-for-4 on Saturday after getting his 3,000 hit Friday night.