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Lopez hits tiebreaking homer in seventh inning

5/10/2003

ATLANTA (AP) -- Javy Lopez is hoping that his swing is finally
back.

Lopez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning and
the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat San Francisco 6-3 Saturday
night, snapping the Giants' six-game winning streak.

Chipper Jones hit a game-tying homer earlier in the seventh and
drove in three runs to lead Atlanta to its 20th win in 24 games.

After Vinny Castilla singled off Joe Nathan (4-1), Lopez hit the
next pitch 413 feet over the center field wall to make it 4-2.

"Hitting the way I've been hitting lately, tonight has to help
my confidence," said Lopez, who went 2-for-3 to lift his average
to .242 with five homers and 11 RBI.

He had been in a 4-for-24 slump entering the game.

"My confidence is there. It's just been a matter of finding the
holes once in a while," he said. "It's a big step for me. Maybe
now I'll start hitting like I can. Be more aggressive, be more
selective and stop swinging at bad pitches.

Nathan entered the game with an 0.34 ERA. He had given up only
one run and 11 hits in 23 1-3 innings and right-handed hitters were
hitting only .109 against him until the seventh.

"I made a mistake to Lopez. It was a fastball up. I was trying
to go away and left it up in the zone," said Nathan, whose ERA
rose to 1.50.

Jones, who went 3-for-4, also had an RBI single in the first off
Kirk Rueter and a run-scoring double in the eighth. Andruw Jones
added an RBI single in the eighth.

"I got some pitches to hit, some good swings and they fell
in," Chipper Jones said. "Home runs kind of come in bunches for
me. I'll try to ride the wave as long as I can, but it was a good,
positive night for everybody."

John Smoltz pitched the ninth as the Braves won for the 68th
straight time in a game he pitched in, extending a major league
record.

Smoltz allowed an RBI double to Rich Aurilia.

Former Brave Andres Galarraga hit a two-run homer in the sixth
inning off Atlanta starter Horacio Ramirez to give the Giants a 2-1
lead.

Galarraga has started only six games, but has made the most of
them. The 41-year-old, who went 2-for-4, is batting .478
(11-for-23) with three homers and 10 RBIs in those games.

Ramirez allowed two runs, six hits and six walks in 6 2/3
innings.

Kevin Gryboski (2-2) got the win when he retired Benito Santiago
-- the only batter he faced -- on a grounder to second with the bases
loaded in the seventh.

Santiago, who hit a three-run homer and knocked in four runs in
Friday night's 9-2 win over the Braves, left nine men on base in
his first four at-bats, including leaving the bases-loaded in the
third and seventh.

Barry Bonds drew three walks, two intentional, in five trips to
the plate.

Rueter allowed one run and five hits in six innings. The
left-hander threw only 59 pitches, but left after running the bases
in the seventh when he irritated his right knee which he injured
earlier in the game covering first base. He's not expected to miss
his next start.

Game notes
Giants 2B Ray Durham left the game in the fifth inning
after he injured his right ankle sliding into third base, trying to
stretch a double into a triple. X-rays indicated a sprained ankle
and he is day to day. "It's a significant injury," Giants trainer Stan Conte said.
"It's an ankle sprain. But you can't really tell for a few days.
We're going to re-evaluate tomorrow."
...The crowd of 39,357 was the second largest
of the season at Turner Field. The Braves drew 40,244 opening day
against Montreal.

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