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Glaus key to Atlanta's resurgence
Royals Braves Basebal Heal
Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Saturday's game against the Kansas City Royals in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

ATLANTA — Jason Heyward's bat has cooled off considerably.

Jair Jurrjens is still hurt. Chipper Jones might be on his way to retirement when the season ends.

Yet no matter how much difficulty the Atlanta Braves seem to face, they keep winning.

Since ending a nine-game losing streak on April 30, the Braves are 34-14, best in the major leagues.

"We've held our own as a team," Heyward said last weekend. "All year everybody's been picking each other up."

Ask around the Atlanta clubhouse who's most responsible for the surge, and Troy Glaus is the consensus answer.

Nobody, including Glaus, imagined a few weeks ago that he would lead the National League in RBIs or that Atlanta would have the NL's best record.

Glaus was hitting .194 with six homers and nine RBIs on May 1. Fans at Turner Field booed him every at-bat.

Last week in the clubhouse, Jones, the Braves' longtime third baseman, took a few playful jabs at Glaus' expense.

"You made it sound like it was impossible," Jones said.

Glaus quickly fired back.

"It IS impossible," he said. "I had no choice. It was either play first or go home."

Glaus has five errors, but he's helped the Braves turn 69 double plays.

"We couldn't be happier with Troy," Cox said. "He's done a wonderful job, which is a testament to how much work he puts in every day. He's inspired all of us."

It's also a testament to Cox that the Braves are winning without getting big contributions from a handful of star players.

The Braves, who lead baseball with a 24-7 home record, have drawn more walks than any team in the majors and have 13 victories in their final at-bat.

The pitching staff overcame the absence of projected ace Jurrjens, but the rest of the rotation — Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe and Kris Medlen — is a combined 29-10 in 51 starts.

Fighting through a batting slump is nothing new to a 33-year old with 319 career homers in 1,479 games, but moving across the infield on defense has been tougher than most people know.

No Atlanta player, however, has been forced to make more adjustments than Glaus.

"You have to accept the fact that you're not going to play third again," Glaus said. "I'm still not as comfortable over there as I ever was at third, but it's getting better."

So are the Braves.