Marlins 2, Braves 0
MIAMI (AP) _ Al Leiter was happy with his audition Friday night, but the casting director wasn’t ready to make any decisions.
Leiter, who hopes to chosen by Atlanta manager Bobby Cox for the NL All-Star team, pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Florida Marlins past the Braves 2-0 for their fourth straight victory.
``The All-Star game is something special,″ Leiter (9-6) said. ``I put a lot of importance on it. I’ve never come this close.″
Leiter, who pitched a no-hitter earlier this season, repeatedly pitched out of trouble, allowing seven hits and three walks. Terry Mathews pitched the eighth inning and Robb Nen worked the ninth for his 16th save.
The Braves had at least one baserunner in each of Leiter’s innings except the first. They stranded nine overall and had four innings end with double plays. The Marlins have turned 101 double plays, most in the NL.
Leiter outpitched one of his competitors for an All-Star spot, Tom Glavine.
Glavine (8-5) was a hard-luck loser, giving up both runs, one of them unearned because of his error, in 6 2-3 innings. He allowed five hits and walked a season-high six, two intentionally.
``I haven’t made up my mind on the pitchers, period,″ Cox said.
Cox’s comments about the two pitchers seemed to reflect a preference for Glavine, however.
``(Leiter) is a pitcher that tonight was out of the strike zone a lot,″ Cox said. ``We didn’t lay off his fastball.″
``Glavine was great, super. He’s been like that all year long. He could have 10 or 12 wins easy if we had gotten him some runs,″ he said.
The two starters came into the game tied for third with four others for most wins in the league with eight. Leiter was third in ERA with a 2.38 mark, while Glavine was fifth at 2.70.
Leiter’s manager, Rene Lachemann would not be drawn into a discussion of the All-Star selection process.
``I have a tough enough job here to worry about,″ Lachemann said. ``I have a lot of respect for Coxy and I know he has a lot of factors to take into account.″
Leiter had a lot to think about while facing the Braves.
``This was probably the most mentally and physically draining game in my whole career except possibly for pitching in the World Series,″ he said.
``Every inning it seemed like I was in some kind of a jam. I know that against this lineup, one pitch can mean losing the game,″ he said. ``I know that Tom Glavine isn’t going to give up many runs; and I know I’m a bubble guy for the All-Star game and the All-Star manager is sitting over there.″
With one out and runners on second and third in the third inning, Leiter struck out out Marquis Grissom and Mark Lemke.
The following inning, after three one-out singles loaded the bases, he struck out Jermaine Dye and Jeff Blauser.
In the fifth, Atlanta had runners on first and second when Chipper Jones grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Florida’s first run came without the benefit of a hit. Devon White walked, moved to second when Glavine made a bad throw on Quilvio Veras’ sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a fly out.
Conine then hit a grounder to shortstop Blauser that appeared to be destined to become an inning-ending double play. Lemke took Blauser’s throw at second, but White scored as Lemke bobbled the ball as he tried to get it out of his glove.
Conine’s single in the seventh drove in Veras with the Marlins’ other run. That run is the only earned run Glavine has allowed in his last three starts.
For Conine, the RBIs made up for earlier failures. Despite hitting the ball hard twice, he flied out twice with two runners on base in both the first and third innings.
Notes: Mark Whiten, signed as a free agent Monday, made his first start for the Braves. Playing right field, he went 2-for-4. ... Prior to the game, the Braves recalled Ed Giovanoia from Triple-A Richmond to replace Danny Bautista on the roster. Bautista was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken nose and orbital rim under his left eye. Bautista, hit by a pitch from St. Louis’ Jeff Parrett on Thursday, is scheduled for surgery Saturday morning. The operation is contingent on the swelling going down sufficiently. ... Leiter made the 100th start of his career, his first against the Braves. ... Gary Sheffield, who came into the game with 65 bases on balls, two behind league leader Jeff Bagwell, tied a Marlins record by being walked four times, twice intentionally.