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Guillen caps Nats' comeback with milestone hit

September 10, 2005

WASHINGTON

Jose Guillen broke a tie with a two-run double in the eighth inning for his 1,000th career hit, capping the Washington Nationals' comeback for an 8-6 victory over the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Guillen's big hit came on the first pitch from reliever Dan Kolb. As he stood on second base, Guillen pumped his fist, then clapped his hands over his head, while the portable stands at RFK Stadium shook as they haven't for some time.

"I'm pretty sure if we lost, the season was done," Guillen said.

Gary Majewski (3-3) pitched a perfect eighth for the win, then gave way to closer Chad Cordero. He got three outs for his franchise-record 44th save, striking out Todd Hollandsworth and Rafael Furcal to end it.

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Washington snapped a three-game losing streak that left it fourth in the NL Wild Card race.

And things sure looked bad Friday for the Nationals, who faced a 6-2 deficit after Andruw Jones hit his major league-leading 46th homer in the fifth off starter Esteban Loaiza.

It wasn't just that deficit. It was also that Washington's bullpen was worn down and its offense has been the worst in baseball. But the Nationals fought back.

Jones doubled in a run in the first off Loaiza, then scored on Adam LaRoche's double to make it 2-0. After the Nationals tied it 2-2 against starter Horacio Ramirez, the Braves got to Loaiza for four runs in the fifth.

The big hit was Jones' three-run homer on a 3-2 pitch. Left fielder Marlon Byrd grabbed the wall and jumped, the top of the padding peeling away in his hand, and the ball sailed just beyond his glove.

As Jones rounded the bases, the score 6-2 and his NL-best RBI total at 118, a contingent of Braves fans down the right-field line yelled "MVP!" over and over while doing the tomahawk chop - making the outfielder right at home and drawing jeers from other parts of the announced crowd of 36,295.

Jones is one homer shy of tying the franchise mark, set by Eddie Matthews in 1953 and equaled by Hank Aaron in 1971.

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