San Francisco (71-58) at Atlanta (73-53)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA, US
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Aug 27, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves have come a long way since their series in April against the San Francisco Giants.

The Braves will look to continue their tremendous play since the All-Star break when they open a four-game series against the visiting Giants.

The teams are meeting for the first time since the Giants took two of three in San Francisco from April 26-28.

“We’ve done a 180 since then,” Braves second baseman Marcus Giles said. “We’re two different teams. It’s like we were a Double-A or Triple-A team then and we’re a solid major league team now.”

Since they were six games below .500 on June 23, the Braves have won 41 of 56. The run has all but sealed the NL East title, which will be their 13th straight division championship.

Atlanta has won four straight games overall, including a 6-4 victory over Colorado on Thursday. The Braves own their largest division lead of the season, 9 1/2 games ahead of defending World Series champion Florida.

In Thursday’s win, the Braves rapped out 11 hits, giving them at least 10 in six straight games.

”(The Braves) are playing well, swinging the bat, getting key hits and making pitches at the right time,” Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said.

San Francisco is one game behind the Chicago Cubs in the race for the top spot in the NL wild-card chase, and four games behind NL West leader Los Angeles.

Brett Tomko threw a four-hitter Thursday for his first career shutout as the Giants defeated Florida 5-0.

Barry Bonds failed to hit the ball out of the infield and went 0-for-4 with a walk, dropping his NL-high batting average to .362.

Veteran left-hander Kirk Rueter will try to slow down the surging Braves. Rueter is 3-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 18 career starts against Atlanta.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Rueter SF vs. J. Wright PIT
9-12 Record 15-8
4.73 ERA 3.28
56 K 159
66 BB 70
1.53 WHIP 1.28