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Maddux on target as Braves bury Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Greg Maddux pitched into the ninth inning
for the first time this year. The San Francisco Giants thought
nothing had changed.

"It's the same old stuff," Rich Aurilia said after Maddux
limited them to an unearned run and five hits in eight-plus innings
during the Atlanta Braves' 6-1 victory Wednesday.

"You know what he's going to do to you," Aurilia said. "He
has great movement and hits his spots. There's a reason he's won so
many games. He knows how to pitch and how to get people out."

Maddux, who began the season on the disabled list with back
problems, was happy just to get eight innings.

"I've been feeling better every time out and it feels good to
pitch past the sixth inning," he said. "Whatever feels right I
just go ahead and trust it and throw it. They kept hitting balls
right at people and didn't get any cheap hits. I'll take that."

Maddux (4-2) walked two and struck out one. Thanks to a pair of
double plays, Maddux threw just 66 pitches through the first seven
innings. He retired 13 of 14 batters at one stretch, and improved
to 23-12 against the Giants.

"There's no secret, you just try to keep the ball down and hope
they hit it to people," Maddux said. "I had fun today. It's still
a special feeling to come to a ballpark like this."

Maddux got early offensive support from Vinny Castilla and
Chipper Jones. Castilla homered and drove in three runs. Jones had
three hits and drove in two to help the Braves stop a three-game
losing streak.

"We needed this one badly," Jones said. "Greg never ceases to
amaze me. He got off to a rough start this year, but today he was
on top of his game for eight innings shutting people down. He's 36?
He looks like he's 25."

Maddux left the game with the bases loaded. John Smoltz relieved
him and gave up Damon Minor's RBI single.

"That looked like one of his usual starts," Castilla said.
"He pitched great. It's almost like a routine."

Castilla, who had an eight-game hitting streak stopped during
Tuesday night's loss, came back with his fifth homer of the year, a
solo shot off Livan Hernandez (4-4) in the second. Castilla added a
two-run single in the third.

"Hernandez is a great pitcher but he made some mistakes
today," Castilla said. "It feels good to help this team win after
struggling for a bit."

Hernandez lost his fourth straight decision. He lasted a
season-low 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, six hits and four
walks.

"I may have lost four in a row but I'm not going to put my head
down," Hernandez said. "I've won four already, too."

Atlanta scored three times in the third for a 4-0 lead.
Following walks to Rafael Furcal and Mark DeRosa, Chipper Jones
singled in a run. Andruw Jones walked to load the bases and
Castilla hit a two-run single.

Chipper Jones added an RBI double in the fifth and Furcal
singled home a run in the eighth.

Game notes
Maddux was bidding for the 103rd complete game and 35th
shutout of his career. ... Despite the loss, the Giants still have
won 10 of their past 13 games. ... Castilla is batting .292
(21-for-72) on the road, but only .171 (13-for-76) at home. He's
7-for-10 against Hernandez. ... This was the fourth matchup between
Maddux and Hernandez in the past five series between the teams.
Maddux is 3-1 in those games. ... Giants OF Barry Bonds has walked
in 26 of 37 games and leads the majors with 51.