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Hudson improves to 86-4 with four-plus runs of support

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tim Hudson got plenty of help from Atlanta's
hitters -- and none of it came from anyone named Jones.

Adam LaRoche broke out of a slump with a homer and four hits,
and Marcus Giles also connected to lead the Braves over the New
York Mets 7-4 Saturday.

Hudson threw six innings and earned his fifth win in six
decisions despite giving up three homers for the first time since
May 2002.

"They backed me up," Hudson said. "One of those games that
was all bend and no break."

Ryan Langerhans added three RBI and reached safely four times
for the NL East-leading Braves, who remained five games ahead of
second-place Philadelphia. Giles also got on four times, and Jeff
Francoeur had three hits.

All in all, a pretty good day of offense for a team that has
leaned heavily on Andruw and Chipper Jones all season. The Braves'
two big boppers were a combined 0-for-9 with two strikeouts.

"It's good to see some other guys besides our big dogs do
something to help us out," Giles said. "If we want to go to the
playoffs and go deep into the playoffs, we definitely can't rely on
those two or we're in trouble. Not that they can't do it, but it's
going to take all 25 of us."

Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza and Mike Jacobs connected off Hudson
for the Mets, who dropped to 5-15 in their last 20 games.

Hudson (13-8) allowed four runs, six hits and four walks in a
shaky outing but still improved to 3-0 in four starts against New
York this year. He is 86-4 in 111 starts when receiving at least
four runs of support.

The last time the sinkerballer served up three homers was on May
19, 2002, with Oakland at Toronto.

"It's just Huddy for you," Giles said. "Obviously, he didn't
have the stuff he wanted to have today, but he got the job done."

Making his fourth start -- and first at home -- after missing most
of the season while recovering from back surgery, Steve Trachsel
(1-3) allowed five runs, two earned, and nine hits in six innings.
He was hurt by David Wright's first-inning throwing error and has
lost his last three starts.

"This is like April for me, like you just came out of spring
training," Trachsel said.

Chris Reitsma retired Wright with two on to end the seventh and
worked 1 1/3 perfect innings. Kyle Farnsworth got three outs for
his eighth save.

Giles walked in the first, stole second and scored on a two-out
throwing error by third baseman Wright. The miscue proved even more
costly when LaRoche, who hit .132 with four RBI in the previous 21
games, followed with a two-run homer, his 17th.

"I tried to pick David up there, but I wasn't able to do it,"
Trachsel said.

New York missed a chance to answer in the bottom half when the
inning ended on a disputed call. Hudson walked the bases loaded
with two outs, and Piazza sent a liner to center that appeared to
hit the grass just before Andruw Jones grabbed it with a lunge.

"It's close, but I had it. You don't trap balls like that,"
the seven-time Gold Glove winner said. "When I came up, the ball
didn't have [any] dirt on it, no mark or grass."

The Mets thought the ball fell in for a hit that would have
scored two, but first base umpire Rob Drake ruled it a clean catch
and the inning was over.

Piazza and manager Willie Randolph were visibly angry at the
call.

"I saw it. I was shocked," Randolph said. "He missed the
play. I would hope that umpires don't react to reputation.

"You know that I get emotional, but I don't cry. I don't want
to dwell too much on that play because it sounds like crying and I
don't cry about these things."

Francoeur doubled in the third and Langerhans' two-run single
made it 5-0, which is normally more than enough support for Hudson.

But Floyd hit a two-run drive in the bottom half, matching a
career high with his 31st of the season, and Piazza and Jacobs
connected for consecutive homers to start the fourth.

Piazza took a curtain call after No. 394 of his career, and
Jacobs' shot traveled an estimated 460 feet over the right-field
bullpen.

"Those weren't cheapies he gave up," Braves manager Bobby Cox
said.

It was Jacobs' second in two days after a drought that extended
to Aug. 24, when he completed a stretch of four home runs in his
first four games in the major leagues.

Giles homered leading off the seventh against Shingo Takatsu,
making it 6-4. Langerhans added an RBI double in the ninth.

"They got a few insurance runs and they caught the ball,"
Piazza said.

Game notes
Francoeur made several nice plays in RF. He robbed Jose
Reyes of a homer with a smooth catch in the ninth. "We played
unbelievable defense," Cox said. ... The Braves stole three bases
against Piazza, who has thrown out only 12 of 84 basestealers this
year (14 percent). ... Atlanta leads the season series 13-5 with
one game remaining. ... Floyd also hit 31 homers in 2001 with
Florida. ... It was LaRoche's third career four-hit game.