Braves keep finding different ways to win

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The Independent Online

US Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves can hardly believe what's happening.

They know they're very good, just as they were throughout the 1990s. But during their franchise-record winning streak, which reached 15 games on Tuesday night, their good fortune has bordered on the ridiculous.

"You've got to have the breaks, and we've had more than our share," manager Bobby Cox said after the Braves rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers to give them the longest winning streak in the National League since 1951.

"They gave us a boatload of opportunities," said Chipper Jones, the 1999 National League Most Valuable Player. "They kept us in the game.

"It's awesome, it's been a great run. We're not really stinging the ball offensively. The breaks just seem to be going our way. And the pitching's been great."

The Braves, who set a franchise record for consecutive wins a night earlier, are the first NL team with a 15-game winning streak since the New York Giants won 16 in a row from Aug. 12-27, 1951, as they overcame the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the NL pennant.

The Minnesota Twins were the last major league team to win 15 in a row, accomplishing the feat in 1991 en route to a World Series title - over the Braves.

"Obviously, we're on a roll," said Terry Mulholland, who allowed 10 hits but only three runs in six innings. "There's a long list of guys who have been picking up wins. Nobody wants to be the first one to pick up a loss."

Mulholland acknowledged the Braves have been getting the breaks, but said, "You have to be able to make your breaks. One way to do that is not beat yourselves."

That's certainly one thing the Braves haven't done in going unbeaten since April 15.

John Rocker pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances, although three Dodgers reached base.

Suspended for the first two weeks of the season for remarks about gays, minorities and foreigners, Rocker returned April 17 - one day after the winning streak started.

Once again, Rocker refused comment, but his teammates spoke up for him.

"We need him, he's been doing very well," Andres Galarraga said.