Series: Game 1 of 3

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 7/30)

Game 1: Friday, July 30
NY Mets1Final
Game 2: Saturday, July 31
NY Mets0Final
Game 3: Sunday, August 1
NY Mets5Final

Mets 1

(49-53, 22-30 away)

Braves 3

(56-46, 28-22 home)

    7:35 PM ET, July 30, 2004

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

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    ATL 00102000 - 3 9 0

    W: M. Hampton (7-8)

    L: S. Trachsel (9-8)

    S: J. Smoltz (24)

    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 night.

    "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.

    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 division.

    "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 finished.

    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 tough."

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press