Santiago breaks game open with homer in eighth

ATLANTA (AP) -- Benito Santiago credits the warm weather with his

production at the plate.

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size="-2" color="#666666"> Santiago

Santiago and Jose Cruz Jr. each hit three-run homers and drove

in four runs apiece as the San Francisco Giants won their sixth

straight game, beating the Atlanta Braves 9-2 Friday night.

The win also gave the Giants a 4-0 record on their road trip,

coming off a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins.

"I love the hot weather. I grew up in it. I wish we had 15 more

games here," said Santiago, who was born in Puerto Rico. He went

2-for-3 and raised his average to .304.

"Right now I'm going good," said Santiago, who had a go-ahead

homer on Tuesday night, added two RBI in a win Wednesday and was

given the day off Thursday.

The Giants pulled away from a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning on

Santiago's three-run homer to win a matchup of the teams with the

NL's two best records. It was the first time the clubs have met

since San Francisco beat the Braves in the first round of last

year's playoffs.

Andruw Jones, who set a Braves' franchise record Thursday with

an RBI in his ninth straight game, went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Santiago's homer made it 6-2 in the eighth. He connected off

rookie left-hander Jung Keun Bong after a walk to Rich Aurilia and

single by Barry Bonds.

He described his homer as "beautiful."

"I had swung too hard on the previous pitch, so I just told

myself to just settle down and get a good pitch to hit," said

Santiago.

Bonds went 2-for-5, stole a base and scored twice.

"You have good days and bad days. Today was a good day. Now

we'll rest and go again tomorrow," he said.

Cruz was 0-for-3 before homering in the ninth. Jim Brower

singled and Aurilia walked before Cruz hit his eighth home run off

Jim Dawley.

Brower picked up his second save with three scoreless innings.

Santiago had a sacrifice fly in a two-run sixth, with the other

run coming on a sacrifice fly by Cruz.

Santiago singled and scored on a single by Marquis Grissom in

the first inning off Greg Maddux.

Maddux (3-4) gave up five hits and three runs in seven innings.

"I pitched good enough to lose, I guess," said Maddux.

"Sometimes you have to win 2-1. It was a better game than the

boxscore will show. It was close for the most part."

Rookie Jesse Foppert (2-2) made his fourth major league start,

giving up two runs and five hits in six innings, his best effort

since losing 1-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies and Kevin Millwood's

no-hitter on April 27.

"I knew I had to throw a good game to beat Maddux," he said.

"He's a great pitcher and it's kind of hard not to get caught up

in that."

Both Atlanta runs came on solo homers. Chipper Jones hit one in

the second and Marcus Giles homered in the sixth.

Game notes

Bonds has eight homers against Maddux in 119 at-bats, tied

with John Smoltz and Terry Mulholland for his most against any

pitcher. Bonds went 1-for-3 against Maddux, a single. ... The crowd

of 32,040 was the second largest of the season at Turner Field. The

biggest was on opening day when 40,244 showed up in a 10-2 loss to

Montreal.