With an announced crowd of 22,000 fans on hand at Turner Field Tuesday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves beat the NY Mets, 6-3, as manager Bobby Cox won his 2,000th game as a big league manager.
Cox is the second active manager to reach 2,000, joining Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa. The Braves' manager is ninth in the all-time list trailing Leo Durocher by eight victories.
Clearly this 2004 group of players wanted the win at home for the popular Atlanta skipper. Before leaving the field, Cox was cheered with chants of: "Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. He smiled and waved to the crowd before disappearing into the runway of the dugout.
The Braves have an off-day Thursday, then play four games at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs who are battling for the NL wild card spot.
All-time Managerial Win Leaders
1. Connie Mack 3,731
2. John McGraw 2,763
3. Sparky Anderson 2,194
4. Bucky Harris 2,157
5. Joe McCarthy 2,125
6. Tony LaRussa 2,112
7. Walter Alston 2,040
8. Leo Durocher 2,008
9. Bobby Cox 2,000
Second baseman Marcus Giles capped a four-run seventh inning with a two-run triple to lift Atlanta to the win.
Russ Ortiz (15-9) earned the victory. He survived a shaky first inning but then worked six solid innings before giving way to Antonio Alfonseca.
Ortiz, who won for the first time in his last five appearances, yielded only two runs on six hits while walking three and fanning two.
He reached the 15-win plateau for the fourth time in his career and also eclipsed 200 innings pitched for a fourth straight year
John Smoltz worked a perfect ninth for his 43rd save of the year.
Adam LaRoche hit his second home run in as many games, a solo shot for the Braves who have won four of their last five games.
Aaron Heilman (1-3) took the loss after being charged with six runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. Heilman walked one and struck out five.
With the game tied at 2-2, Atlanta scored four times in the seventh to blow the game open.
-- Andruw Jones made it 3-2 as he stroked an RBI double to plate LaRoche, who led off with a walk.
-- After Jones moved over to third on a bunt single by Charles Thomas, pinch-hitter Julio Franco brought him in with a base hit to right for a two-run edge.
-- Giles then delivered a two-run triple to left center to make it a 6-2 game.
Johnny Estrada's RBI single brought Atlanta within 2-1 and LaRoche's solo homer, his 12th of the season, tied the game at two apiece in the fourth.
Atlanta, which went 49-32 at home this season, took 12 of the 19 meetings with the Mets this year.
Portions adapted from the Sports Network website.