<
>

Giles hits two doubles; Wright wins

ATLANTA (AP) -- Marcus Giles picked up right where he left off --
in the majors, that is.

Giles hit two doubles in his first game in two months and Jaret
Wright won his fifth straight decision, leading the Atlanta Braves
past the Montreal Expos 8-0 on Thursday night.

"He looked great, fielded flawlessly," Atlanta manager Bobby
Cox said of Giles. "You couldn't ask for anything more."

Giles, who broke his collarbone in a collision with center
fielder Andruw Jones on May 15, went 2-for-5 to lead the Braves to
their 13th win in 16 games.

During a five-game rehab assignment with Class A Rome and Myrtle
Beach just before the All-Star break, Giles batted only .067
(1-for-15).

But he had no such trouble against the Expos. After a flyout to
right in his first at-bat, Giles doubled home runs in the third and
fifth innings as Atlanta beat Montreal for the fourth straight
time.

Giles was hitting .339 when he was injured, and his average went
up to .341 after Thursday night.

"It was a long time to be out," he said. "It's sore, but my
shoulder won't be an excuse for me for any part of this year. It's
healed enough to do what I did tonight."

The Braves pulled into a tie atop the NL East with Philadelphia,
which lost to the New York Mets 3-2 in 11 innings Thursday night.
Atlanta hasn't been in first since April 8, the third day of the
season.

Wright (7-5) hasn't lost since May 22, when the Dodgers beat him
7-4. He gave up three hits in seven innings and allowed only one
runner to reach third, combining with Kevin Gryboski and Antonio
Alfonseca on the five-hitter.

"It wasn't that Wright was so hard to hit -- he didn't strike
out many," Montreal outfielder Carl Everett said. "He just kept
us off balance. We didn't get the timely hits, and they did."

It was the Braves' eighth shutout, and the 14th time the Expos
were blanked.

Chipper Jones went 3-for-5 for the Braves after arriving at the
ballpark just 30 minutes before the game. A charter flight from his
ranch in Texas was delayed, and he skipped batting practice.

"I told him to fly somewhere tomorrow, too," Cox quipped.

Johnny Estrada added an RBI double for Atlanta.

Livan Hernandez (6-9) continued his struggles against Atlanta
this season, falling to 0-4 with a 9.90 ERA in four starts. In his
previous outing last week, he lasted only two innings and was
charged with six runs on right hits.

He made it to the fifth in this one.

After retiring the first six batters, he gave up three runs in
the third, including Giles' first double. He got through the fourth
with no further damage, but the Braves jumped on him in the fifth.

Rafael Furcal walked and Giles drove him in with a double down
the right-field line. Hernandez struck out J.D. Drew, but Chipper
Jones and Estrada followed with back-to-back doubles to finish off
Hernandez.

"He's a great pitcher," Giles said of Hernandez. "You can
tell he's got an idea, he's got a plan out there. I just think that
it's one of those things."

Reliever T.J. Tucker walked Adam LaRoche and hit Andruw Jones to
load the bases. Charles Thomas then lined a single to left to score
Estrada. Wright, the ninth batter, struck out to end the inning.

Endy Chavez went 2-for-3 for Montreal.

"A terrible day," Expos manager Frank Robinson. "We just
didn't have it. Like some hitters and pitchers, the Braves seem to
have our number. The record speaks for itself. Nobody can explain
it."

Game notes
Montreal 2B Henry Mateo, called up from Triple-A Edmonton,
replaced Jose Vidro in the sixth and made a throwing error on his
first fielding chance. ... Drew singled in the third to extend his
hitting streak to a career-high 12 games. ... Vidro went 1-for-3 in
his return after missing five games with a sore knee.