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Matt Franco

Matt Franco

It’s hard to say who was more responsible for the July 1, 2002 Atlanta victory — Matt Franco or the bullpen.

Either way, the Braves turned  the NL East into a race for second.

Franco hit his first career grand slam, and five relief pitchers held the Montreal Expos to one run over six innings to lead Atlanta past Montreal 7-5. The Braves trailed 4-1 after three innings but won for the 11th in 12 games to push their lead in the NL East to 9 1/2 games over the Expos, who lost their third straight.

Franco, who currently lives in Simi Valley, California, is the nephew of actor Kurt Russell (his mother, Jill Franco, being Russell’s sister), and the grandson of actor Bing Russell. He holds the major league record with 20 pinch hit walks in a season.