ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves charged back toward the top of
the NL East without much help from Chipper Jones. Now that he's
found his swing, their chances at winning a 13th straight division
title have improved.
Atlanta won its sixth straight series by taking three of four
from Montreal, and the Braves moved into a tie with the
Philadelphia Phillies atop the NL East. Both teams are 48-43
heading into a two-game series that starts Monday night.
"We took two of three from them in Philadelphia, and now we've
got them here," Jones said. "I like our chances."
A sore hamstring has limited Jones to only 69 games this season,
and he came into Sunday's game batting .217. He raised his average
nine points with the three hits, and he also drove in four runs.
"I dug myself a pretty big hole," Jones said. "I've struggled
with my swing. But it's not how you start, it's how you finish. I
feel I can go out and help this team win the division, and that's
the most important thing."
Before the game, the Expos traded outfielder Carl Everett to the
White Sox for minor league pitchers Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski.
Everett played the final 73 games of last season for Chicago after
starting 2003 with Texas, and has played just 39 games this year
because of injuries.
"We didn't get a chance to see Carl Everett at the top of his
game," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "When he left spring
training, he was in A-1 shape. Then he got hurt, and I don't think
he ever recovered."
Marrero's third career grand slam capped a five-run first off
Scott Downs (1-4), whose victory last weekend over Pittsburgh was
the first for a Montreal left-handed starter in 500 games since
Matt Blank beat the New York Mets on June 21, 2001.
Downs didn't make it out of the third.
Drew singled, Jones homered, and Julio Franco and Andruw Jones
chased Downs with back-to-back singles. Sunny Kim took over and
loaded the bases with a walk to Marrero, then forced a run home by
hitting Eddie Perez with a pitch.
Thomson and Rafael Furcal had run-scoring singles and, one out
later, Kim forced in a run by walking Drew.
"I don't know if it was rust or what," Downs said. "I'm a
location guy, and when I'm not locating, I have problems."
He allowed nine runs and seven hits in two innings.
"We couldn't throw the ball over the plate," Robinson said.
"That was a lot of pitches. A lot of balls. No pitching, no
Montreal wasted an opportunity to get back in the game in the
second when two runners got thrown out at home.
Juan Rivera singled, then tried to score on a double to the wall
in right-center by Sledge. But Andruw Jones quickly relayed the
ball to shortstop Rafael Furcal, who whirled and made a perfect to
throw to catcher Eddie Perez.
After Einar Diaz singled and Downs sacrificed, Chavez singled up
the middle to bring in Sledge. But Andruw Jones threw to Perez in
time to get Diaz, ending the inning and protecting a 5-1 lead.
Everett was pulled from the lineup about 30 minutes before
the game. ... The Braves don't have an open date until Aug. 2, a
run of 18 straight games after the All-Star break. ... Montreal SS
Orlando Cabrera pinch hit in the fourth and played in his 259th
consecutive game, tying Rusty Staub for the second-longest streak
in Expos' history.