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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Umps Ordered Back to Work, Braves Go 2 Up


PHILADELPHIA -- U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Ludwig ordered major-league umpires to work during baseball's post-season playoffs, preventing a walkout over a disciplinary dispute involving Baltimore Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar.

At a court hearing Friday Ludwig granted Major League Baseball's request for a temporary restraining order sought to stop the threatened walkout. Baseball attorneys argued that umpires were bound by their collective bargaining agreement to work, despite their anger at Alomar's success in avoiding a five-game suspension for the post-season playoffs, imposed for spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck during a game last Friday in Toronto.

Richard Phillips, attorney for the umpires, argued that the authority of the umpires and the dignity of baseball would be compromised if acts such as Alomar's were not dealt with severely.

"Baseball is in a state of very serious decay," Phillips said. "If this order, which these people [baseball's Major League] seek is granted. To quote from Shakespeare, 'Fair is foul and foul is fair.'"

However, Phillips had told the judge before the ruling was announced that umpires would abide by the order, subject to their ability to contest it after its 10-day expiration period.

On the field, the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals moved to just one game each of winning their National League divisional playoffs.

Fred McGriff and Jermaine Dye had two of Atlanta's three solo homers and Greg Maddux pitched seven strong innings as the Braves defeated the Dodgers 3-2 to take a two-game lead in their best-of-5 National League playoff series.

The Braves got just five hits, but three were homers. Ryan Klesko had the other off Ismael Valdes.

Maddux, Greg McMichael and Mark Wohlers combined on a three-hitter as the Braves finished off the Dodgers in just 2 hours, 8 minutes.

Maddux gave up two unearned runs and three hits, struck out seven and walked none. McMichael pitched the eighth, and Wohlers had a perfect ninth for his second save in two days.

Atlanta's pitchers retired the final 16 Dodgers following Raul Mondesi's RBI double in the fourth.

In St. Louis, Tom Pagnozzi drove in the game-winner with a shot off reliever Trevor Hoffman's glove in the eighth inning, giving St. Louis a 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres and a 2-0 lead in their NL playoff series.

St. Louis had blown a 4-1 lead, allowing San Diego to tie it in the eighth on Steve Finley's RBI groundout.

Brian Jordan drew a lead-off walk in the eighth off Doug Bochtler and advanced on a groundout before John Mabry, who hadn't hit the ball out of the infield in six playoff at-bats, was intentionally walked.

Bochtler's wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, and Pagnozzi hit a 1-1 pitch just to the left of Hoffman, who got the tip of his glove on the ball but couldn't catch it and it bounced to second baseman Jody Reed, who threw to first as Jordan scored.

Dennis Eckersley, who turned 42 Thursday, pitched a perfect ninth for his second save of the series and the 13th of his postseason career. Eckersley retired pinch-hitter Greg Vaughn on a grounder to third for the final out.

Ron Gant had a three-run double in the fifth, giving St. Louis a 4-1 lead.

?The Florida Marlins have scheduled a news conference for late Friday at which they are expected to announce that former Pittsburgh Pirates skipper Leyland will be the team's manager next season.

The California Angels, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox had all sought the services of Leyland, who decided to leave the cost-conscious Pirates at the end of this season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn't look beyond their own dugout to find Jim Leyland's replacement, hiring third-base coach Gene Lamont on Thursday as only their third manager in 20 years.