Braves 3, Mets 1

Friday, July 30th 2004, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ Marcus Giles had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run, leading Mike Hampton and the Atlanta Braves past the New York Mets 3-1 Friday night.

Before the game, the Mets acquired pitchers Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano in two separate trades. 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 surging Braves in the NL East.

Hampton (7-8) pitched four-hit ball over seven innings to improve to 5-0 in July, joining fellow starters Russ Ortiz (5-0) and Jaret Wright (3-0) with unbeaten records in the month.

Since losing to the Marlins on June 29 and falling to 2-8, Hampton has won five straight starts. The Braves are 19-6 in July and have a 4 1/2-game lead on Florida and Philadelphia in the division.

Andruw Jones added two hits and an RBI for Atlanta.

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.

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 back-to-back two-out singles in the ninth, but retired Jason Phillips on a fly ball to earn his 24th save.

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

Notes: Mets LF Cliff 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.