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Updated: Friday, July 16, 2004 12:09 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
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ATLANTA 8, MONTREAL 0
 

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Braves aren't ready to relinquish their streak of division titles just yet.

Jaret Wright continued his mastery of the Montreal Expos as Braves continued to make life miserable for Livan Hernandez in an 8-0 victory over the Montreal Expos .

Wright (7-5) allowed three hits and struck out five in seven scoreless innings. The righthander has won his last five decisions, with two of those victories coming against the Expos.

"I just try to do the same thing, whether it's the Braves, or the Phillies," said Wright, who has not lost since May 22. "I just try to stay with my game, move it around, and get ground balls."

The Braves also welcomed the return of second baseman Marcus Giles , who was activated from the disabled list before the game. He had been sidelined since May 15 with a fractured collarbone.

Giles ripped an RBI double in the third and scored later in the inning on J.D. Drew's single.

Giles also added a second run-scoring double in the fifth, when Atlanta built a 5-0 lead.

"It feels good," Giles said. "It's a long time to be out. It's good to see the team pick up where we left off."

Chipper Jones produced his first three-hit game since May 13 and Charles Thomas added a pair of singles and an RBI for Atlanta, which has won 14 of its last 18 games to tie Philadelphia atop the National League East. The Braves have won 12 straight division titles.

"t was a good game, said Jones, who arrived at Turner Field 20 minutes before first pitch because of a mechanical problem with his charter jet. "It was a nice ending to a long, hectic day for me.

"I told Chipper to take a flight tomorrow and skip (batting practice), joked Braves manager Bobby Cox .

Hernandez (6-9), who gave up seven runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in falling to 0-6 lifetime in the regular season at Turner Field, has not beaten the Braves since August 18, 2000. The Expos' All-Star fell to 0-4 against Atlanta in 2004, giving up 22 of his 61 earned runs to the Braves.

"One team can beat you all the time," Hernandez said. "The Braves don't give me a chance."

The Braves are batting a gaudy .355 against Hernandez this season.

"We see him enough," Jones said. "We ought to know what he features. Hitters get very familiar with pitcher's tendencies and his repertoire. He's not a guy that's going to overpower you. You know he's going to be in or around the strike zone, so you're really aggressive with him.

After tossing his sixth career shutout vs. Toronto on July 2, Hernandez has been pounded in consecutive starts against Atlanta, posting an ERA of 18.47 and surrendering 15 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

"I don't hold my head down," Hernandez said. "I have to be ready next time. I like to pitch, and it doesn't matter if it's somebody that beat me."


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