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Giles' four hits, game-winner lift Braves over Rockies

ATLANTA (AP) -- This is what the Atlanta Braves were expecting
when they made Marcus Giles their leadoff hitter.

Giles had four hits, including a run-scoring double with two
outs in the eighth inning that gave the Atlanta Braves their third
straight win, 5-4 over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

Hitting .195 entering the game, Giles had three straight singles
and scored the Braves' first run before coming through with the
game-winning hit off Jose Mesa.

Asked what he did to turn things around, Giles quipped, "Well,
I sacrificed a live chicken." Turning serious, he added, "Really,
the ball just happened to fall in the right places. You can't say
you're hitting the ball good when you're hitting about .180. But I
did feel like I was hitting better than that."

Mesa took over for Ray King (1-2) after Wilson Betemit's
pinch-hit single with two outs. Mesa's first pitch skidded to the
backstop, allowing Betemit to take second. Sitting on a 2-0
fastball, Giles hit a liner over the head of left fielder Matt
Holliday.

Giles figured that Mesa would groove a pitch with Edgar Renteria
coming up next. The Braves' No. 2 batter extended his hitting
streak to 17 games -- an Atlanta record for the start of the season
-- and has a .375 average.

"Our best hitter was on deck," Giles said. "I knew the last
thing he wanted to do was face Renteria. I would have been glad
just to hit a clean single somewhere. The last thing I'm trying to
do is hit one to the wall, but it worked out."

After longtime leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal signed with the
Dodgers during the offseason, Giles inherited the role. It took
some getting used to, but he wasn't all that worried about his slow
start.

"You don't want to just take it, but you have to deal with
it," said Giles, who raised his average 35 points in one night and
knows "five good days can turn it all around."

Lance Cormier (2-1) earned the win by getting the final two outs
in the top half of the eighth. Chris Reitsma worked a scoreless
ninth for his sixth save in seven chances.

The Braves' winning streak -- their longest of the season --
followed a five-game skid that left them seven games behind the
Mets in the NL East. They've got the deficit down to five as they
begin an eight-game road trip that includes a stop in New York this
weekend.

Atlanta, which has won 14 straight division titles, is eager to
show that it will be contending for No. 15.

"We want to prove that we're going to be someone to deal with
in this division," Giles said.

Holliday homered twice for the Rockies, and Brad Hawpe also went
deep -- all off Braves starter Jose Sosa.

Sosa limited the Rockies to six hits in six innings, but he
couldn't the ball in the park with a 3-1 lead. A surprising 13-game
winner in 2005, the right-hander remained at 0-4 this season with a
6.65 ERA, having allowed six homers in 21 2-3 innings.

"My slider wasn't working tonight," Sosa said. "I threw a
changeup and gave up a home run. But my control is there. My
fastball is there. I just have to work on my changeup."

Holliday had the fifth two-homer game of his career but it
wasn't enough to prevent the Rockies from getting swept in the
two-game series in Atlanta. Still, they managed a 5-4 road trip and
held their surprising lead in the NL West.

"Anytime you win a road trip, you've got to take it," Holliday
said. "We're playing pretty well. This one just got away."

Rockies starter Aaron Cook went 6 2-3 innings. He was lifted
with a 4-3 lead after walking Chipper Jones, but Scott Dohmann gave
up a double to Andruw Jones that allowed the other Jones to score
the tying run all the way from first.

The Braves scored all of their runs with two-out hits. Andruw
Jones, Adam LaRoche and Jeff Francoeur came through in a three-run
third.

"I didn't make good pitches with two outs," Cook said. "They
came up with some clutch hits."

Game notes
SS Clint Barmes will not be with the Rockies for
Wednesday's game against Cincinnati. He was excused to attend a
cousin's funeral, then will return to Colorado on Thursday for the
finale of a brief series against Cincinnati. ... Holliday's
two-homer game was the second for a Rockies player this season.
Jason Smith hit two at San Diego on April 9. ... Braves LF Ryan
Langerhans made a diving catch in the fourth to deny Barmes a
probable double. ... Rockies 1B prospect Ryan Shealy homered in his
first at-bat for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday. He joined
the Sky Sox after spending April at extended spring training in
Tucson to rehab an injured elbow.