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Braves continue to climb

The Atlanta Braves have given the Phillies another team to fear in the NL East. Julio Franco hit a three-run homer, J.D. Drew homered among his four hits, and Atlanta posted a 6-4 win yesterday in Philadelphia to pull within a game of the first-place Phillies. Atlanta starter Russ Ortiz (10-6) won his fourth straight decision. He gave up four runs on six hits, while walking five in 5 2/3 innings. John Smoltz worked a perfect eighth, then allowed the first two batters to reach in the ninth before finishing for his 16th save.Atlanta's first six hitters combined for 14 of the team's 16 hits and scored all six runs as the Braves roughed up Randy Wolf (3-5), who allowed a season-high 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. With Philadelphia ahead, 2-1, in the sixth, Drew drove a pitch from Wolf inside the left-field foul pole, drawing the Braves even.

Chipper Jones walked and Johnny Estrada doubled before Franco hit an 0-1 fastball from Wolf to right-center, giving Atlanta a four-run lead.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 2 -- Jason Schmidt won his 11th consecutive decision, the longest streak by a Giants pitcher in 42 years, and Ray Durham homered and drove in three runs in San Francisco's home romp. Schmidt (11-2) has not lost since April 26 -- a span of 15 starts. Jack Sanford won 11 straight for the Giants in 1962. Schmidt allowed two runs over eight innings and struck out 10.

Cubs 8, Cardinals 4 -- Kerry Wood won his first start in two months and Sammy Sosa homered and drove in five runs, helping Chicago avoid a sweep in St. Louis. Wood (4-3), sidelined since May 11 with triceps tendinitis, gave up just one run and three hits in five innings.

Marlins 5, Mets 2 -- At Miami, Florida's Jeff Conine snapped a slump with a grand slam, helping Dontrelle Willis (7-5) beat New York for the fifth time in as many tries.

Reds 9, Brewers 6 -- Jason LaRue hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth off All-Star closer Dan Kolb (0-1), and Wily Mo Pena followed with his second homer of the game in Cincinnati's comeback in Milwaukee.

Dodgers 7, Astros 4 -- Paul Lo Duca's first career grand slam backed Jose Lima (8-3), who pitched six strong innings for host Los Angeles.

Padres 4, Rockies 2 -- Ryan Klesko hit just his second homer of the season for host San Diego, which broke a four-game skid.

Expos 2, Pirates 1 -- Scott Downs (1-3) gave Montreal its first win by a lefthanded starter in three years, and the Expos capped their stay in San Juan with a 7-14 record.. . .
Barry Bonds was intentionally walked three times Saturday night, setting a record (71) for a season, in the Giants' 3-1 victory over Arizona in San Francisco.

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