Braves take Cubs back to Atlanta

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

CHICAGO - Turns out Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves still had some big hits left.

And Sammy Sosa didn't have quite enough.

With Wrigley Field fans on edge and the streets of Chicago rocking in anticipation of the Cubs winning their first postseason series since 1908, the Braves sent this NL playoff back to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5.

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Jones ended his playoff slump with a two-run homer from each side of the plate, and Russ Ortiz pitched well on three days' rest as the Braves defeated the Cubs 6-4 Saturday.

It went down to the final swing. With a run already in and a runner on second, Sosa came up with two outs for a tense matchup against star closer John Smoltz.

On a full-count pitch, Sosa took a hopeful hop as his bid for a tying, two-run homer left the bat.

''I think the roofs might have come off this place if he had,'' Chipper Jones said.

But center fielder Andruw Jones calmly caught the ball on the edge of the warning track for the last out.

Smoltz, who appeared to be grimacing in pain during the at-bat, bent over and put his hands on his knees after holding on for a save.

Jones, who was 1-for-11 coming into the game, was 2-for-3 with two walks. Eric Karros hit two homers for the Cubs, but both were solo shots.

So the series now goes back to Atlanta on Sunday night. Mike Hampton will try to duplicate Ortiz's effort, facing Kerry Wood on three days' rest.

The winner will host Florida in the opener of the NLCS on Tuesday.

With the game tied at 1 in the fifth inning, Marcus Giles reached on a fielder's choice. Chipper Jones, batting left-handed, sent a 1-0 pitch from Matt Clement arching toward left-center for a 3-1 lead.

Batting right-handed in the eighth inning against Mark Guthrie, he put a 3-2 pitch into almost the exact same spot in left-center.