Atlanta's Castilla too much for Cubs again

CHICAGO (AP) -- Vinny Castilla did in the Cubs again.

The Atlanta third baseman homered for the second straight game

and drove in four runs as the Braves beat Chicago 9-5 Friday, their

season-high eighth straight win.

Castilla homered and had two doubles and four RBI in an 11-3

victory on Thursday. At one point Castilla had a hit in six

straight at-bats against Chicago before grounding out in the sixth.

Atlanta starter Mike Hampton (5-5) allowed five runs and 11 hits

in 7 1-3 innings. He also hit a two-run triple off the right field

wall in the eighth.

The game's outcome was overshadowed by a scary moment in the

second when Braves second baseman Marcus Giles collided violently

with Cubs starter Mark Prior, sending both players to the ground

wincing in pain.

With two outs in the second, Prior ran from first on a grounder

hit at Giles when the two slammed into each other on the base path.

Prior's left knee hit Giles flush in the face as the pitcher

toppled over Giles, falling onto his right shoulder.

After laying on the ground for a couple of minutes, a wobbly

Giles walked off the field and was replaced by Mark DeRosa. He was

taken to a hospital with a mild concussion.

Prior grabbed his shoulder after the collision and stayed on the

ground for a couple minutes before walking off to cheers.

He seemed unfazed after the collision, striking out two in the

third and Chipper Jones to lead off the fourth.

Things went badly from there. Andruw Jones singled to center,

Robert Fick doubled off the wall and Javy Lopez was hit by a pitch

to load the bases for Castilla, who singled through the hole at

short to give Atlanta a 4-1 lead in the fourth.

Andruw Jones then hit a two-run homer the fifth, ending a

forgettable day for Prior (8-5).

The Cubs phenom lasted 4 2-3 innings and allowed six runs and

six hits. He walked three and struck out five.

Sammy Sosa had two solo homers, his 16th and 17th, and was

4-for-4, while Eric Karros was 3-for-5 with an RBI.

It was Prior's worst start in nine outings, and it wasn't going

too well before the collision with Giles.

The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the second on a bad pitch and

worse play in the field by Prior.

Fick walked with one out and Prior appeared to get out of the

inning when Lopez hit a sharp grounder that Prior fielded cleanly.

Instead of turning and firing to second, Prior waited for Mark

Grudzielanek to get to the bag and threw the ball into the dirt --

allowing Fick enough time to reach second safely.

Castilla then hit his 15th homer on an 0-2 pitch.

The Cubs scored twice in the eighth on a two-run double by

Grudzielanek, but left the bases loaded when Moises Alou struck

out.Game notes
Prior is second in the majors to teammate Kerry Wood (156)

with 150 strikeouts. ... Braves outfielder Darren Bragg mimicked

Sosa in the first inning, sprinting out to right field and making a

sharp turn near the wall to salute the fans. His act didn't go over

too well as he was loudly booed by the fans in right. ... Karros'

RBI single in the first gave him 997 for his career. ... The last

time the Braves won eight straight was May 2000.