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Expos stay undefeated in Atlanta this season

ATLANTA (AP) -- Claudio Vargas won his third straight start and
Endy Chavez and Michael Barrett provided the offense as the
Montreal Expos remained unbeaten in Atlanta this year with a 5-4
victory over the Braves Thursday night.

Third-place Montreal, which began the season with a three-game
sweep at Turner Field, moved within six games of the NL
East-leading Braves, who have lost three of four and six of nine.
The Braves are 16-19 in the NL East.

Vargas (6-3) allowed eight hits, three runs in 7 1-3 innings
without walking a batter. The rookie right-hander, who didn't
record a strikeout for the first time this year, was replaced by
closer Rocky Biddle, who gave up a two-run single to Gary Sheffield
that made it 5-3.

Biddle, after walking Chipper Jones on four pitches, struck out
Andruw Jones and got Robert Fick to ground out to end the threat.

Javy Lopez walked to lead off Atlanta's ninth and reached second
on a wild pitch by Biddle. Rafael Furcal drove him in with a
two-out single. Biddle then walked Marcus Giles before being lifted
for rookie Julio Manon, who got Sheffield to fly out to left on his
first pitch. It was Manon's first career save.

Vargas, who retired 11 straight batters before Marcus Giles
singled with one out in the sixth, improved to 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA
in his last seven starts.

Andruw Jones led off the seventh with his 21st homer to make it
5-1, but Vargas retired Fick on a groundout and got Lopez and Vinny
Castilla to pop up to end the inning.

Montreal took a 3-0 lead in the first on Edwards Guzman's RBI
groundout and Barrett's two-run homer. The Expos went ahead 5-0 in
the fourth on Chavez's two-run triple.

Braves starter Shane Reynolds (5-4) was chased with one out and
runners on first and second in the eighth. Kevin Gryboski, who
relieved Reynolds, coaxed a grounder from Guzman before
intentionally walking Barrett to load the bases and striking out

Reynolds, who lost his third straight start, allowed 11 hits,
five runs and one walk in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander entered
with a 9-2 record and a 3.16 ERA in 21 career appearances against

Since beating the Phillies 1-0 on April 20, Reynolds, has a 7.11
ERA in his last 13 starts -- a stretch of 69 1-3 innings. He hadn't
made it to the fifth inning in his previous three outings.

Game notes
Montreal placed reliever Dan Smith on the 15-day disabled
list with an inflamed rotator cuff. The right-hander, 2-2 with a
5.26 ERA in 32 games, will be replaced by Bryan Hebson, the Expos'
first draft pick in 1997. ... Gryboski has stranded 33 of 40
inherited runners.