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Pirates rout Braves 13-4

There's really no need to go into all the details.

Just think of it in simple terms.

The Pittsburgh Pirates look like they're going to the World Series.

The Pirates reeled off their second straight lopsided victory Tuesday, scoring eight second-inning runs and blasting the Atlanta Braves 13-4 to force a seventh and deciding game tonight for the National League pennant.

Atlanta's John Smoltz, winner of Games 1 and 4, will face Pittsburgh's Doug Drabek, starting at 8:26 p.m.

"We got a good old-fashioned butt-kicking," said Braves shortstop Jeff Blauser. "The only good thing about a game like this is that you don't have to fight the traffic going home."

The Braves may face a lonely drive home again tonight. The Pirates are playing well and playing with confidence. Just three nights ago, the Pirates trailed three games to one and looked as if they were going home.

Based on the second inning Tuesday, they looked as if they were going all the way. Rookie knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitched a complete game, scattering nine hits for his second post-season win. Lloyd McClendon, Barry Bonds and Jay Bell hit homers.

"The last two nights, we were focused," said outfielder Gary Redus. "We knew what we had to do. We had to win. It will be no different (tonight)."

McClendon, who had three hits including a home run, said the team would keep things in perspective.

"All we've done is bought ourselves a seventh game," said McClendon, now 8-for-11 in the series. "We have to stay focused and come out and play aggressive baseball."

The Pirates were plenty aggressive in the second inning when they exploded for eight runs and chased Atlanta starter Tom Glavine. By the end of the night, they blasted five Atlanta pitchers for 13 hits.

"It was just one of those freak nights," said Pirates manager Jim Leyland.

"I just hope they got so tired running the bases they won't have anything left for (tonight)," said Braves outfielder David Justice, the lone Atlanta bright spot with two home runs.

The gasping Braves, on the verge of a historic collapse, look as if they need some kind of edge. Their starting pitching, usually their forte, has looked terrible.

Glavine, their 20-game winner, didn't survive the second inning, allowing eight runs, including home runs by Bonds and Bell.

That follows an equally unimpressive showing by Steve Avery in Sunday's Game 5 when he lasted just one-third of an inning.

Tonight, they'll put their hopes on Smoltz, who will be asked to start for the third time in nine days. He pitched 6 innings in his Game 4 win Sunday.

Drabek, the Pirates' ace, has lost twice to Smoltz, pitching just nine innings in the two games. After winning five straight games in September, Drabek has lost three in a row. He has not lost four consecutive decisions since the 1989 season.

The second-inning onslaught started when Bonds led off with a home run to right-center, his first career post-season home run. Then the hits kept on coming.

Jeff King singled to left-center. McClendon singled to right-center. Don Slaught doubled them home. Jose Lind grounded to shortstop, but Blauser's throw hit Slaught, bounced away and allowed him to score the fourth run. Wakefield bunted, and Glavine threw late to third. Redus hit a chip-shot double to right, scoring Lind to make it 5-0. Bell then smacked a three-run home run to leftfield, chasing Glavine in the process.

By the time the Pirates were done, they set or tied five playoffs record _ the 16 total bases and eight runs allowed by Glavine set new standards; the eight hits and two home runs by the team; and the two hits apiece by McClendon and Bonds tied marks.

Glavine continue to struggle. He was 1-5 in his last seven regular-season starts, bothered much of that time by a cracked rib, and has lost both playoff starts.

The Pirates added four more runs in the fifth against Braves reliever Marvin Freeman. Lind doubled home McClendon and Slaught. Redus and Andy Van Slyke added RBI singles.

The Braves first run came when pinch-hitter Lonnie Smith singled home Sid Bream in the fourth. Justice hit added a solo home run in the seventh, well after a large part of the crowd of 51,975 headed out, and a two-run shot in the ninth.

This will be the fourth NL playoffs series to reach a seventh game. The Cardinals defeated the Giants in 1987; the Dodgers beat the Mets in 1988; and, of course, the Braves beat the Pirates in 1991.

No NL team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win an NL playoffs. Two American League teams have _ the 1985 Kansas City Royals (over Toronto) and the 1987 Boston Red Sox (over California).

Pittsburgh does have some history on its side _ the 1925 and 1979 Pirates both overcame 3-1 deficits to win the World Series.