Braves 3, Brewers 2

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ATLANTA (AP)—Marcus Giles simply was trying to get on base, hoping the heart of the Atlanta Braves lineup might drive him in with the go-ahead run.

He did much better than that.

Giles hit a solo home run in the seventh and the Braves rallied past the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 Saturday night.

With one out, Giles lined the first pitch he saw from reliever Valerio De Los Santos (0-2) into the seats in right-center, a 410-foot shot that gave the Braves their 10th victory in 12 games.

Gary Sheffield, Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, the hitters behind Giles in the order, never got a chance.

“I was just looking fastball on the first pitch, trying to drive something out there,” Giles said. “Because if you look at who’s hitting behind me, I’ve got a pretty good chance to score if I’m on second base.

“Fortunately for us, it got out.”

A night after the Brewers hit five homers in a 12-5 victory, they managed only five hits. Richie Sexson, who hit three home runs in that game, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

“That’s how baseball is,” Sexson said. “One day, it’s good, and the next day it’s bad. You have to learn that. That’s the way it goes.”

Ray King (2-0), traded from Milwaukee to Atlanta in the offseason, pitched a scoreless seventh for his second win in three games.

John Smoltz got three outs in the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances, and his 25th straight dating back to last year. The Brewers put two men on with two outs in the ninth, but Alex Sanchez grounded out to end the game.

“This team hasn’t folded all year,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “We didn’t fold against the best reliever in baseball. We were just one hit away from tying it up.”

Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal went 2-for-4, the only player on either team with more than one hit.

Listed at 5-foot-8 in the Braves media guide—but admittedly closer to 5-7—Giles hardly has the look of a power hitter. But he’s hit four homers this season, and the right-hander has only one to left field.

More importantly, he’s hitting .347 and seems to have a hold on the everyday job at second base.

“Who’d ever think a guy that size would go deep?” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “And the other way, too. He just keeps playing great baseball. He has done everything.”

That’s especially true against left-handed pitchers like De Los Santos: he’s 9-for-16 (.563) against them this season.

“My approach is supposed to stay the same, but unfortunately it doesn’t,” Giles said. “I wish I could have a more consistent approach against righties. But that’s the way it goes.”

Milwaukee starter Wayne Franklin and counterpart Horacio Ramirez left with nearly identical lines. Both went 5 1-3 innings, walked four, threw one wild pitch and gave up two runs (one earned).

Ramirez was pitching on 10 days of rest. He got bumped from a start when Mike Hampton returned from the disabled list.

“No excuses,” Ramirez said. “It was just something mechanical I didn’t fix. My head was moving a little bit and I was opening up a little bit.”

The Brewers took a 2-1 in the sixth. With one out, Geoff Jenkins was hit by a pitch and Brady Clark singled, bringing Kevin Gryboski in to replace Ramirez. Jenkins moved to third on a grounder and later scored on a passed ball by Javy Lopez.

In the bottom half of the inning, Atlanta tied it again. A single by Vinny Castilla brought home Andruw Jones and also finished off Franklin.

Both teams got on the board early with unearned runs. The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first after an error by third baseman Wes Helms. With Giles on first, Chipper Jones hit a slow grounder to Helms, who bobbled the ball and eventually dropped it.

A walk to Andruw Jones loaded the bases, and another walk to Julio Franco brought Giles in with the first run.

Milwaukee tied it in the second after a wild pitch by Ramirez set up an RBIgroundout by Royce Clayton.


Lopez was back in the lineup after missing five starts with a strained right hamstring. … Milwaukee RF Brady Clark robbed Franco of a hit in the fourth, diving to snare a line drive inches off the grass. … The attendance of 27,313 was the largest at Turner Field in six games, and the fourth largestof the season.

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