Mets get pitching help, but bats silent vs. Braves

ATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Hampton took his turn in the rotation, and
the results -- as they have been all month -- were predictable.

Hampton won his fifth straight start and Marcus Giles had three
hits, leading the Atlanta Braves past the New York Mets 3-1 Friday

"I can't say enough about our starting pitcher," Giles said.
"One run against a pretty good hitting team like that, there's a
lot to be said for that."

Since losing to the Marlins on June 29 and falling to 2-8,
Hampton has gone 5-0 in July, joining fellow starters Russ Ortiz
(5-0) and Jaret Wright (3-0) with unbeaten records in the month.

"We're just feeding off each other," Hampton said.

The surging Braves are 19-6 in July and have a 4½-game lead on
Florida and Philadelphia in the NL East. Hampton gave up one run on
four hits in seven innings.

"I think I'm maybe mixing my pitches a little better, using
both sides of the plate a little more and nipping the outside,"
Hampton said. "Earlier, I just felt like I wasn't holding up my
end of the bargain, pretty much. I was one of the guys they counted
on to help this team win and wasn't doing it."

Before the game, the Mets acquired pitchers Kris Benson and
Victor Zambrano in two separate deals. They got Benson -- eligible
for free agency after this season -- and minor league infielder Jeff
Keppinger from the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielder Ty Wigginton,
highly touted minor league pitcher Matt Peterson and infielder Jose

Bautista came over earlier in the day from Kansas City in
exchange for minor league catcher Justin Huber.

The Mets could use the help. They lost for the 12th time in
their past 17 games and fell seven games behind the Braves in the

"We came in hoping to win the series, and we can still do
that," New York manager Art Howe said. "We played hard, we just
couldn't put anything together against Hampton."

Andruw Jones added two hits and drove in a run for Atlanta.
Giles batted only .150 (3-for-20) on a recent six-game road trip,
but more than made up for it with his biggest night since returning
from the disabled list after the All-Star break.

"It's just nice to finally contribute a little bit," Giles
said. "We've been playing really well the last five, six weeks,
and since I've come back, I really haven't done much to help us."

Kaz Matsui had two of the Mets' seven hits.

After New York took a 1-0 lead in the third on a run-scoring
groundout by Matsui, the Braves rallied against Steve Trachsel
(9-8). Giles doubled in the bottom half of the inning and J.D. Drew
brought him in with a single to tie it before Atlanta went ahead in
the fifth.

Rafael Furcal doubled to the right-field corner and came home on
Giles' third hit. Later, Giles scored on a single by Jones to make
it 3-1.

"They were able to put some hits together," Howe said of the
fifth. "That gave them the lead and the ballgame. It was a tough
inning for us."

Hampton and the bullpen did the rest. He retired the final six
batters he faced -- after back-to-back singles by Matsui and Mike
Cameron in the sixth -- before Chris Reitsma and John Smoltz

Smoltz gave up consecutive two-out singles in the ninth, but
retired Jason Phillips on a fly to earn his 24th save.

"They know how to win, no matter who they put on the field,"
New York left fielder Cliff Floyd said of the Braves. "Anytime you
put them in that position with a 4½-game lead, it's going to be

Trachsel gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings and
threw 118 pitches.

Game notes
Floyd made a sliding catch to deny Furcal a hit in the
third inning. ... The attendance of 40,913 was the sixth-largest of
the season. ... Since losing a season-high three straight late last
month, the Braves are 24-8. ... Wigginton was in the original
lineup but was removed before batting practice. Joe McEwing took
his place.