Atlanta's Castilla too much for Cubs again


CHICAGO (AP) -- Vinny Castilla did in the Cubs again.

The Atlanta third baseman homered for the second straight game
and drove in four runs as the Braves beat Chicago 9-5 Friday, their
season-high eighth straight win.

Castilla homered and had two doubles and four RBI in an 11-3
victory on Thursday. At one point Castilla had a hit in six
straight at-bats against Chicago before grounding out in the sixth.

Atlanta starter Mike Hampton (5-5) allowed five runs and 11 hits
in 7 1-3 innings. He also hit a two-run triple off the right field
wall in the eighth.

The game's outcome was overshadowed by a scary moment in the
second when Braves second baseman Marcus Giles collided violently
with Cubs starter Mark Prior, sending both players to the ground
wincing in pain.

With two outs in the second, Prior ran from first on a grounder
hit at Giles when the two slammed into each other on the base path.
Prior's left knee hit Giles flush in the face as the pitcher
toppled over Giles, falling onto his right shoulder.

After laying on the ground for a couple of minutes, a wobbly
Giles walked off the field and was replaced by Mark DeRosa. He was
taken to a hospital with a mild concussion.

Prior grabbed his shoulder after the collision and stayed on the
ground for a couple minutes before walking off to cheers.

He seemed unfazed after the collision, striking out two in the
third and Chipper Jones to lead off the fourth.

Things went badly from there. Andruw Jones singled to center,
Robert Fick doubled off the wall and Javy Lopez was hit by a pitch
to load the bases for Castilla, who singled through the hole at
short to give Atlanta a 4-1 lead in the fourth.

Andruw Jones then hit a two-run homer the fifth, ending a
forgettable day for Prior (8-5).

The Cubs phenom lasted 4 2-3 innings and allowed six runs and
six hits. He walked three and struck out five.

Sammy Sosa had two solo homers, his 16th and 17th, and was
4-for-4, while Eric Karros was 3-for-5 with an RBI.

It was Prior's worst start in nine outings, and it wasn't going
too well before the collision with Giles.

The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the second on a bad pitch and
worse play in the field by Prior.

Fick walked with one out and Prior appeared to get out of the
inning when Lopez hit a sharp grounder that Prior fielded cleanly.

Instead of turning and firing to second, Prior waited for Mark
Grudzielanek to get to the bag and threw the ball into the dirt --
allowing Fick enough time to reach second safely.

Castilla then hit his 15th homer on an 0-2 pitch.

The Cubs scored twice in the eighth on a two-run double by
Grudzielanek, but left the bases loaded when Moises Alou struck

Game notes
Prior is second in the majors to teammate Kerry Wood (156)
with 150 strikeouts. ... Braves outfielder Darren Bragg mimicked
Sosa in the first inning, sprinting out to right field and making a
sharp turn near the wall to salute the fans. His act didn't go over
too well as he was loudly booed by the fans in right. ... Karros'
RBI single in the first gave him 997 for his career. ... The last
time the Braves won eight straight was May 2000.