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Updated: Monday, August 22, 2005 12:57 AM EDT



  R H E  
Padres 2 10 3 WP: Sosa (8-2)
LP: Otsuka (1-5)  
Braves 6 9 1
Braves rally late to prevent season series sweep vs. Padres

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Mark Sweeney turned from hero to goat in the course of one inning.

Sweeney delivered a go-ahead pinch single in the seventh but committed a costly error one inning later as the Atlanta Braves scored five times en route to a 6-2 victory against the San Diego Padres .

The victory salvaged the finale of a six-game season series against San Diego and prevented the Braves from being swept in a season set by a National League team for the first time in the 130-year history of the franchise.

"I didn't know that," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "I'm glad you didn't tell us that because it would have put a lot of pressure on us to win. I'm glad we could avoid that from being a hot topic tomorrow."

With San Diego holding a 2-1 lead on the strength of Sweeney's two-run single, his 17th pinch hit of the season, righthander Akinori Otsuka (1-5) started the eighth for the Padres.

Marcus Giles greeted the Japanese reliever with a single and Chipper Jones followed with a double to right-center field. Andruw Jones plated Giles with a grounder that shortstop Damian Jackson bobbled for an error, and rookie Jeff Francoeur was walked intentionally - his first walk in 131 plate appearances this season - to load the bases.

Ryan Langerhans bounced a high one-hopper to Sweeney, but the first baseman's throw to the plate was high and wide, allowing two runs to score for a 4-2 lead.

"One thing you hate in a situation like we were in is a high hopper," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "We broke down in the eighth inning. That opened the floodgates. We'd been playing good baseball until then."

"I'm just trying to hit something to center field," Langerhans said of his single. "I think I might have been a little bit anxious. ... You don't normally draw it up like that, but you'll take it."

Rookie Brian McCann followed with a sacrifice fly and Julio Franco capped the uprising with an RBI single, his 13th hit in 35 at-bats as a pinch hitter this season.

"The ball got a little hot there in that inning," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We finally caught a break and took advantage of it."

"Giles and I set the table," Chipper Jones said. "Unlike the fourth inning where we had the bases loaded and no out (and didn't score), we put the ball in play. Things happen when you put the ball in play. You put pressure on a defense and they miss."

John Smoltz pitched seven strong innings in his fourth attempt at 13 wins this season. Jorge Sosa (8-2) worked the eighth to pick up the victory and Kyle Farnsworth tossed the ninth.

After Atlanta squandered a bases-loaded opportunity with none out in the fourth inning, Smoltz drilled a liner to right-center for his second career triple, scoring McCann for a 1-0 lead.

The 38-year-old righthander's only other triple came at Houston on April 6, 1989, when McCann was just five years old.

"They told me to drive the run in," Smoltz said. "It was good that McCann was able to score on it."

Smoltz allowed eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts, while San Diego starter Brian Lawrence yielded a run and five hits in six innings.

"It felt like a 1-0 game," Smoltz said. "I made a good pitch and Sweeney, he got a hit. When it's close, things glare like a booger on your face. I'm battling. Every game has been one of those games."

Atlanta finished their season-long 12 game homestand at 6-6 and remains three games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL East. San Diego leads Arizona by 4 1/2 games in the NL West.

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