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BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- After a slugfest on Saturday, it was a return to normalcy for the Atlanta Braves.
Greg Maddux scattered seven hits over 6 2/3 innings and Rafael Furcal and B.J. Surhoff each had two hits and an RBI as the Braves defeated the New York Yankees, 4-1, in the rubber game of their three-game interleague series.
Maddux (7-5) allowed a mammouth home run to Joe Oliver with two outs in the second inning, but did not let another batter reach second base thereafter. The four-time Cy Young Award winner threw 81 of 119 pitches for strikes and improved to 2-0 in five starts against the Yankees.
"The fourth time through the order is tough," said Maddux, who took himself out of the game. "They hit a lot of balls hard but they were right at people. We were lucky to be leading and I was lucky to give up just one run. Physically I was fine, but I was struggling with trusting my pitch selection. We got two out of three and that's tough to do because these guys are good at home and they know how to win."
"He made pitches when he had to," Atlanta catcher Paul Bako said about Maddux. "He got out of a jam in the first and that really set the tone. He may not have had his best stuff tonight, but he battled out there and gave us a chance to win."
Maddux has more interleague wins than any pitcher with an 11-3 mark against American League teams.
"The thing about Maddux is that he will throw a lot of strikes early in the count and then he gets a little stingy," New York manager Joe Torre said. "He really doesn't give you much to hit and that's what makes him one of the best. I don't want to take anything away from him, but we have to be more productive."
Jose Cabrera replaced Maddux with a runner on first base and retired Derek Jeter on a flyout to deep right field to end the seventh inning.
Cabrera pitched a perfect eighth inning and John Rocker worked the ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances. Rocker's first pitch hit Jorge Posada, but the hard-throwing lefthander struck out David Justice before Scott Brosius grounded into a double play.
Atlanta improved to 8-1 on its current 12-game road trip. The Braves have split 16 interleague meetings with the Yankees, but New York defeated Atlanta in six games in the 1996 World Series and swept the Braves in the 1999 World Series.
"It's never easy against the Yankees," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "They got Tommy (Glavine) Friday and roughed up (John) Smoltz yesterday. When you're not pitching and you hit and win that's a sign that things are going your way. That has been the case for us lately, but tonight we pitched."
Mike Mussina (5-7) lost his third straight start, allowing four runs and six hits in eight innings.
With two outs in the second inning, Dave Martinez lined Mussina's 1-1 pitch into right-center field for a triple and Surhoff followed by lining a single into left to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees tied the score with two outs in the second when Oliver drove Maddux's 2-1 pitch over the center-field wall for his first home run since September 26. The ball landed in the black section of the bleachers, nearly in the same spot that Jorge Posada homered to Saturday. Oliver became just the 17th player to homer into that section.
The Braves went ahead in the fifth. Bako doubled with one out and Mussina hit Quilvio Veras in the foot with a 2-2 pitch. Furcal singled to right field to plate pinch runner Mark DeRosa and Andruw Jones lifted a sacrifice fly to right, giving the Braves a 3-1 advantage.
Wes Helms, who hit one of Atlanta's four home runs on Saturday, led off the seventh with a walk and moved up on a groundout. Mussina struck out Veras, but Furcal singled to send Helms to third. Helms scored Atlanta's final run when Oliver threw wildly as Furcal stole second base