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Updated: Saturday, September 4, 2004 2:40 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
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ATLANTA 7, MONTREAL 1
 

MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The Atlanta Braves continue to roll over their divisional rivals.

Paul Byrd allowed one run in eight innings as the Braves posted their 10th straight win against National League East Division opponents with a 7-1 rout of the Montreal Expos .

Byrd (6-4) surrendered four hits and struck out six en route to his fourth win in five decisions. He held the Expos scoreless before Macier Izturis led off the eighth with a triple and scored on a groundout one batter later.

"That's what happens when you think about a shutout," Byrd said. "You give up a triple and its gone."

"He definitely pitched a great game against us," said Montreal shortstop Alex Gonzalez , who struck out three times against Byrd. "He wasn't throwing anything straight. He'll keep you off-balance while throwing strikes and then he'll try to get you chasing pitches off the plate every once in a while."

It was the longest outing of the year for Byrd, who missed the entire 2003 season recovering from elbow surgery.

"They signed me to a two-year deal," Byrd said. "They paid me a lot of money and I'm in the training room the whole year. That just did not sit well with me. I'm glad our team's turned it around and I feel I had a part in that."

Atlanta broke through against Montreal starter Scott Downs (2-5) in the third. Rafael Furcal had a two-out single and scored on a double by Marcus Giles . J.D. Drew followed by extending his hitting streak to 12 with a single that plated Giles and gave the Braves a 2-0 lead.

"The hitters have been doing a great job," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "With lefthanders, you have to try to stay inside the ball as much as you can and they're doing that pretty good."

Downs pitched into the seventh but was removed after giving up consecutive one-out singles to Furcal and Giles. Montreal relievers Joe Horgan and T.J. Tucker could not keep the Expos close, allowing four runs to score in the inning for a 7-0 deficit.

"When you don't score runs, you're not going to win ballgames," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "And when you don't have a very good ballgame pitching-wise, defense-wise and hitting-wise, you're not going to beat the Braves."

Eli Marrero homered in the fourth for the Braves (79-54), who have won 10 of 11 to move to a season-high 25-games over .500.

"You play well as a team and you win ballgames," Drew said. "That's the key all year long and that's what we've been working on and it is working out well for us."


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