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Braves win fifth straight

PHOENIX (AP) -- Eddie Perez waited all season for his first home
run. Once he connected, it didn't take him long to hit another.

Perez went 4-for-5 with his first two homers of the season
Sunday, leading the Atlanta Braves past the Arizona Diamondbacks
11-4 for their fifth straight victory.

The last player on Atlanta's roster to hit a home run this
season, Perez raised his batting average 32 points to .210.

"I've hit the ball hard and had some good at-bats," said
Perez, a backup catcher who has started just 26 games. "It's hard
when you don't play every day because you can't go get them the
next day."

Russ Ortiz got his 13th win and Chipper Jones homered and drove
in four runs for the streaking Braves, who have won 10 of 11 and 14
of 16. Atlanta, which is 31-9 since losing a season-high three
straight games in late June, remained 5½ games ahead of
Philadelphia in the NL East.

"We had a great trip," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

The Diamondbacks have lost four straight and 41 of 50.

"When you fall behind in the score against a guy like him you
know you're going to be in trouble," Arizona manager Al Pedrique
said.

Ortiz (13-6) threw five shutout innings before running into
trouble in the sixth. He got the first two outs before walking Chad
Tracy. Ortiz then allowed consecutive singles to Carlos Baerga,
Alex Cintron, Luis Terrero and Koyie Hill to cut the lead to 10-3.

Ortiz walked pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to load the bases, but
Kevin Gryboski retired Quinton McCracken on a line drive to left to
end the inning.

"I was upset I couldn't finish the inning after getting the two
outs," Ortiz said. "I know I walked five guys but it doesn't
bother me. Everything felt good."

Ortiz struck out three and gave up seven hits, becoming the
second NL pitcher with 13 wins. San Francisco's Jason Schmidt has
won 14 games.

"What was perplexing to me is for people to see the arms we
have here and write us off," Ortiz said. "We always felt we all
could keep stepping up and stepping up. Everybody is hitting a good
stride and it carries over to the next guy."

Jones' first-inning homer into the right-center field pool area
off Casey Fossum (2-11) staked the Braves to a 2-0 lead. Perez hit
his two-run shot in the second to extend Atlanta's lead to 4-0.

Julio Franco made it 5-0 with a sacrifice fly in the third
before Atlanta broke the game open with five runs in the fourth.

Fossum walked Mark DeRosa, Perez singled and Ortiz advanced the
runners with a sacrifice. Rafael Furcal and Marcus Giles hit
consecutive RBI singles to make it 7-0 and chase Fossum. Eli
Marrero doubled against reliever Stephen Randolph, and Jones lined
a two-run single to center for a 10-0 lead.

Perez homered again in the ninth to make it 11-3.

"He turned it all loose today," Cox said.

Fossum lasted a season-low 3 1-3 innings, allowing nine runs and
eight hits. He is winless in seven starts since July 1 and has lost
seven of his last eight decisions.

"I didn't have anything today," Fossum said. "I didn't have
any life on my fastball. I fell into some fastball counts and I
paid for it. I'm not worried. I've gone through a lot."

Game notes
Hill went 4-for-4 for Arizona. ... Jones also was stellar
defensively, leaning against a railing and into the Arizona dugout
to catch a second-inning popup by Tracy. ... The Diamondbacks
optioned LHP Randy Choate to Triple-A Tucson and recalled LHP Shane
Nance. Choate was 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 61 games for Arizona.