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Updated: Sunday, May 1, 2005 12:35 AM EDT



  R H E  
Cardinals 2 11 0 WP: Kolb (1-2)
LP: Journell (0-1)  
Braves 3 8 1
Mondesi's homer lifts Braves past Cardinals

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Braves finally got a taste of what they have been expecting from Raul Mondesi . St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa did not get what he expected from plate umpire Dale Scott.

Mondesi's leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Braves to a 3-2 triumph over the Cardinals in a wild affair at Turner Field.

After a troubled year with Pittsburgh and Anaheim in 2004, Mondesi signed a one-year contract in January with the Braves, who were hoping to replace J.D. Drew's offensive production. But Mondesi has not lived up to expectations, entering with a .205 average and 10 RBI in 21 games.

Mired in a 1-for-18 slump, Mondesi deposited Jimmy Journell 's 1-0 offering into the left field bleachers for his third homer of the season and the fifth game-winning blast of his 13-year career.

"I look for the fastball every time," said Mondesi, who watched Journell's first pitch go wildly to the backstop. "I knew the guy throws hard. I said, 'Any ball middle of the plate, I'm going to get a good swing.'"

Mondesi's homer accounted for the first run allowed by St. Louis' pitching staff in the ninth inning this season.

La Russa was ejected in a wild seventh inning, in which the Braves managed to plate only one run after loading the bases with none out.

Reliever Al Reyes started the inning by surrendering consecutive singles to Johnny Estrada and Andruw Jones . Reyes then walked Mondesi, prompting another pitching change from La Russa.

When La Russa went to the mound to remove Reyes, the righthander was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

"I tried to make a good pitch," Reyes said. "(The umpires) make the decision. They make the last call, and I can't do nothing about it."

Lefthander Randy Flores came on in relief and walked pinch hitter Chipper Jones to tie the game at 2-2. Jones, who has been sidelined with a bruised left foot, appeared to get hit on his right foot on the 0-2 pitch, but Scott did not make the call.

"I turned around (to Scott) and go, 'Are you kidding me?'" Jones said. "I said, 'The ball hit me.' He said, 'I didn't see it.'"

Two pitches later, Scott ejected La Russa for arguing balls and strikes.

"We were playing in an aggressive strike zone and all of a sudden, it's not there," La Russa said. "Sooner or later, (the Braves) are going to beat the umpires down. They argue everything.

"They are a class organization, but they fuss and moan about everything. Maybe that's their strategy, but it's not something to be admired. Everything else, they do it first class, but this is just the latest example. It's a (heck) of a strategy, but it's (garbage)."

Flores settled down to retire the next three batters, avoiding further damage.

Atlanta closer Danny Kolb (1-2) struck out one in a perfect ninth to record the win.

Braves starter John Thomson allowed two runs - one earned - and eight hits in six innings. The righthander worked out of trouble throughout as the Cardinals stranded runners in scoring position in four of his six frames.

The Cardinals, who had won their previous six road games, wasted a strong outing by starter Matt Morris . The veteran righthander went six innings, allowing one run, four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

St. Louis' Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a run-scoring double in the first.

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