Braves lose for seventh time in last 11 games

MIAMI (AP) -- Nothing is easy for the 2001 Atlanta Braves.

Greg Maddux lost his third straight decision, giving up four
runs in the first three innings Thursday night as the Atlanta
Braves lost to the Florida Marlins 7-1.

With 10 days left in the regular season, the Braves are clinging
to a one-game lead in the NL East following a 4-7 road trip.

"We left Atlanta in first place and we're coming home in first
place," Maddux said. "We control our own fate. We just have to
play good."

Atlanta, one game ahead of Philadelphia and three games in front
of the New York Mets, headed home from its first sub-.500 trip
since May 8-13. The Braves, just 34-38 at Turner Field, finish with
a nine-game homestand against the Mets, Philadelphia and Florida.

"The Mets, the Phillies -- it's the same thing. We have to
win," Braves catcher Javy Lopez said. "We could have put more
distance on those teams but we didn't do it. We'll have to do it
when we get back home."

Maddux (17-10), pitching for the first time since hyperextending
his elbow Saturday in New York, fell behind in the first when
Derrek Lee reached on just the 27th walk off the pitcher this
season, Cliff Floyd hit an RBI double and Kevin Millar followed
with a run-scoring single.

Lee hit a sacrifice fly in the second for a 3-1 lead and Lowell
homered in the third.

"I felt fine but I didn't pitch good," Maddux said. "I hung
too many sliders. I didn't aim the ball well."

Maddux, who lasted just two batters in New York, gave up eight
hits in six innings. He has lost three straight decisions for the
first time since July 22 to Aug. 2 last year.

"I thought Maddux pitched well," Braves manager Bobby Cox
said. "He felt like he should keep pitching. He didn't want me to
pinch hit for him."

Florida beat Maddux for the first time in three starts this

"We did a pretty good job on him," Florida manager Tony Perez
said. "He got the ball up and didn't get the ground balls he
usually does. But he was still tough."

Andy Fox added a three-run homer in eighth off Jose Cabrera,
Fox's second home run of the season.

Florida starter Matt Clement left after being hit on the right
wrist by a Brian Jordan liner leading off the second inning.

"It swelled up pretty good right away," Perez said. "The
X-rays were negative but it's still sore. I don't know if he'll
pitch again."

Juan Acevado (2-4) allowed three hits in three scoreless
innings, and Vladimir Nunez followed with three innings of two-hit

Andruw Jones drove in Atlanta's run with an RBI grounder in the

Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected in the sixth inning by
plate umpire Tim Tschida after questioning a called strike to
Jones. It was Cox's 11th ejection this season, the third on the
11-game road trip.

An inning earlier, Maddux has questioned a pitch to Millar that
was called a ball.

"That might have been the tightest strike zone I've seen going
both ways," Cox said. "It was unbelievable."

Game notes
Maddux made his 500th career start. ... B.J. Surhoff,
2-for-14 during the first seven games of the trip, went 6-for-10
during the four-game series in Florida. ... Floyd's two doubles
gave him 76 extra-base hits, tying him with Gary Sheffield (1996)
for the Marlins' season record. ... Lowell has 91 RBI, tying his
career high. ... The Marlins have 160 homers, tying the team record
set last year. ... Lee saw his career-high 12-game hit streak come
to an end.