Baseball: Imperious Maddux

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The Independent Online

The Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in the first game of the World Series on Saturday thanks to their pitcher Greg Maddux and Fred McGriff's home run.

Maddux, who is heading for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Cy Young Award, conceded just two hits in a short outing while McGriff's home run levelled the scores at 1-1 in the second inning and when he came home in the seventh that proved to be the winning run.

Both Indians runs were unearned, coming on errors forced by the speed of Kenny Lofton in the first and ninth innings.

"I don't think you will ever see anybody pitch better than Greg Maddux tonight," Mike Hargrove, the Cleveland manager, said. "He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he's everything you'd ever want in a pitcher."

"I don't think he can pitch any better," Bobby Cox, the Atlanta manager, said. "I'm very, very proud of him."

Leading off the bottom of the second, McGriff smacked the first pitch he saw into the right-field stands, becoming the 12th player to hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat. "It's stuff you dream about," McGriff said. "I hit it good. I knew it was out."

Native American protesters, angry at what they consider the racist names of both teams, carried signs outside Atlanta's stadium saying "Native people are not mascots." They had also protested the Braves' two previous losing World Series appearances in the past three played, and now the Indians, in their first World Series since 1941, represented an additional affront.