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Giles breaks out of mini-slump with key homer

5/25/2003

ATLANTA (AP) -- Marcus Giles picked the perfect spot to end what had been a dreadful series.

Giles hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth and Greg Maddux pitched seven scoreless innings Sunday as the Atlanta Braves
beat the New York Mets 3-1.

Giles had been 1-for-12 in the three-game series until he unloaded off reliever David Weathers (1-4).

"Yea. It's definitely no secret I did nothing this series. I had a couple of bad games,'' Giles said. "Last night I was absolutely awful at the plate.''

Giles went 0-for-5 in Saturday's 10-4 win over the Mets, the only starter to go hitless.

"So it was nice to contribute. Obviously in that situation I
wasn't trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to get on base
with (Gary) Sheffield and Chipper Jones coming up next,'' he said.

After Jeromy Burnitz hit a game-tying solo shot in the top of
the eighth off Roberto Hernandez (4-1), the Braves regained the
lead in the bottom half.

Rafael Furcal singled with two outs against Weathers to start
the rally.

"Give a lot of credit to Furcy. I think he was really worried
about him (stealing second) and made a little bit of a mistake to
me,'' Giles said.

Giles then hit his seventh home run of the season.

"You have to keep the runner close in that situation. I tried
to make the best pitch I could, and he beat me,'' Weathers said.

John Smoltz pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 20
attempts. Smoltz, who hadn't pitched since last Sunday, extended
his major league record for pitching in consecutive team victories
to 72. He last was in a losing game on May 29, 2002, a 4-3 loss to
Montreal.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Andruw Jones in
the fifth inning, the first hit off rookie right-hander Jae Seo,
who allowed only one other hit before leaving after seven innings.

Jones, who also homered Saturday, hit a 2-1 fastball 395 feet
over the left field fence for his 13th home run of the season.

Burnitz's second homer of the series on a 1-0 pitch drew boos
from the season-high crowd of 41,432, and took a win away from
Maddux.

"You're going to get cheered and you're going to get booed. It
didn't bother me,'' Hernandez said. "What bothered me was that
Greg went out there and pitched seven great innings. I didn't want
to go 2-0 on Burnitz. It wasn't a bad pitch, but it turned out to
be the wrong pitch.''

Maddux allowed three hits, didn't walk any and struck out three
in seven innings. The four-time NL Cy Young winner threw 84 pitches
-- 52 for strikes -- and retired the last 11 hitters he faced. He
lowered his ERA from 5.54 to 4.99 after going 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA
in his previous three starts.

"I'm not disappointed,'' Maddux said. "It's not about results
but about pitching. I kept our team in the game and I'm glad we
won.''

The Mets' bullpen once again failed to come through. The
relievers have 14 of the team's 28 losses -- second most in the
majors.
"I messed it up and it cost the team a game. It gets old,''
Weathers said.

Game notes
Maddux is 29-16 in his career against the Mets -- the most
wins against any club -- and hasn't lost to New York since Sept. 28,
2000. He's 3-0 in his last seven starts against the Mets. ...
Atlanta's Gary Sheffield had a 12-game hitting streak snapped,
going 0-for-4. He was robbed of a hit in the fourth on a diving
catch by Mets' 3B Ty Wigginton, who turned it into a double play
with Giles running on the play. ... Braves' 3B Vinny Castilla
doubled and went to third in the fifth inning when Mets' RF Roger
Cedeno caught a fly ball from Henry Blanco and thought it was the
third out. It was only the second out, but Cedeno got off the hook
when Maddux popped out for the final out of the inning.