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Game 2 matchup is one for ages

Atlanta's Boy Wonder and Pittsburgh's Seasoned Veteran will be the starting pitchers for Game 2 this afternoon at 3:07.

Steve Avery, the 22-year-old who shackled the Pirates in two 1-0 wins during last year's playoffs, hopes to improve upon his 11-11 showing this season.

"I feel I've been throwing well all year, but maybe not just getting the wins that I've had," Avery said.

Danny Jackson, a 30-year-old left-hander who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 10, has been a part of two World Series championship teams, with Kansas City in 1985 and Cincinnati in 1990. He has a 3-1 post-season record.

"I've developed an attitude out there that I hate my opponent," said Jackson (8-13). "I don't like being bothered by everything else that is going on around. I just want to play."

What Chop Shop?

The Atlanta fans here are pretty proud of the raucous setting they create with the tomahawk chop and chant, but Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Miller said he's not worried about stopping the chop.

"The thing they do here is kind of relaxing," Miller said. "I find myself humming along with them. It's not disruptive like a spontaneous roar. I find it kind of tranquil myself."

Ole Oly

Braves catcher Greg Olson is out of action because of a broken leg and sprained ankle suffered Sept. 18, but he is hardly out of sight. Olson was on the field in uniform before Tuesday's game, sporting a freshly painted Braves tomahawk on his cast, courtesy of his mother-in-law. "It looked a little drab," Olson said.

Olson plans to have all the Braves sign his cast, then auction it off with proceeds going to the American SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Institute. During the playoffs, he'll keep busy as an analyst for an Atlanta TV station and by writing a diary for the Atlanta newspaper.

Baseball, please

Pirates manager Jim Leyland snapped at reporters asking questions about the impending free-agency of Pittsburgh stars Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek.

"Let them play," Leyland said. "They've earned the right to be the focus. Let's talk about how Doug will pitch or how they're going to try and get Barry out. They'll get their pot of gold in five weeks or so."

Miscellany

Former Braves great Dale Murphy threw out the first pitch. Western Division teams have won the last four NL playoff series. The West holds a 13-10 advantage. The Pirates are appearing in the NL playoffs for a record ninth time, having a 2-6 record so far. The Game 1 winner has gone on to win the pennant 13 of 23 times. But since the switch to the best-of-seven format in 1985, the Game 1 winner has prevailed only twice.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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