Braves 9, Giants 3

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ATLANTA (AP)—With his parents in the stands for the first time this season along with a son anxious to ask about his hitting, Paul Byrd put on a show.

Byrd allowed one run in six innings and hit a pair of run-scoring singles off Jason Schmidt, leading the Atlanta Braves past the San Francisco Giants 9-3 Saturday.

“It gives me a little bragging rights,” Byrd said.

Rafael Furcal had four hits and four RBIs for the Braves, who have won six straight. They moved a season-high 22 games over .500 and improved to 15-1-3 in their past 19 series.

The two hits and two RBIs were career highs for Byrd, who entered 19-for-129 (.147) in his career. His 8-year-old son, Grayson, always wants to know how he did at the plate and, after this game, Byrd has plenty to talk about.

“No matter how I pitch, good or bad, that’s the first question,” Byrd said. “Did I get a hit?”

Byrd got around on a chest-high fastball in the second, then lined a down-and-away slider into right field in the fourth. And he was well aware that he was in uncharted territory.

“It’s the first multihit game of my career,” he said. “It’s so bad that I would even know that.”

Barry Bonds went 1-for-3 with an infield single, a day after hitting his 694th homer. He originally was scheduled for a day off Saturday, since he often skips day games that follow night games, but told manager Felipe Alou after Friday’s 5-3 loss that he wanted to play.

San Francisco remained one game behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card race.

Schmidt (15-5) left his previous start Aug. 17 against Montreal with a strained right groin, an injury that forced him to skip a turn in the rotation. He gave up six runs and a season-high 10 hits in only 3 2-3 innings, yet had good enough stuff to finish with eight strikeouts.

“I probably should have used my fastball more,” Schmidt said. “I tried to finesse too much. The positive thing is I got through this start. I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel that far off.”

Still, he was outclassed by Byrd (5-4), who pitched out of his only real trouble in the third by getting Bonds on a routine flyout to center and J.T. Snow on a grounder to second. The Giants managed only four hits against Byrd, three singles and a double by Ray Durham.

“It’s not how hard you throw the ball, it’s where you throw it,” San Francisco first baseman J.T. Snow said. “Sometimes, those pitchers are tougher to hit than one that throws 95 miles per hour.”

Atlanta chased Schmidt in the fourth. A walk and four straight hits— including Byrd’s second RBI single—loaded the bases with no outs before Schmidt struck out J.D. Drew and Chipper Jones with overpowering fastballs.

But Johnny Estrada grounded a single through a diving Durham at second, bringing in Byrd and Furcal to make it 6-1. Wayne Franklin relieved Schmidt and struck out Adam LaRoche to end the inning.

“After J.D. and Chip struck out, I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Estrada said. “But I think the two biggest ABs in the game were from Byrd. It’s kind of discouraging as a pitcher, when you can shut down the rest of the lineup, but you can’t get the pitcher out.”


Schmidt last gave up 10 hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 4, 2002. … Atlanta CF Andruw Jones was given the day off. Drew started in his place, with Eli Marrero filling Drew’s spot in right. … Giants CF Michael Tucker is now 0-for-25 in his past eight games, and his ego was further bruised in the first inning when a strike was called as he was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt.

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