Series sweep gives Braves 6 straight wins

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves charged back toward the top of

the NL East without much help from Chipper Jones. Now that he's

found his swing, their chances at winning a 13th straight division

title have improved.

Jones finished a double short of the cycle, Eli Marrero hit a

grand slam in the first inning and the Atlanta Braves routed the

Montreal Expos 16-5 Sunday.

Atlanta won its sixth straight series by taking three of four

from Montreal, and the Braves moved into a tie with the

Philadelphia Phillies atop the NL East. Both teams are 48-43

heading into a two-game series that starts Monday night.

"We took two of three from them in Philadelphia, and now we've

got them here," Jones said. "I like our chances."

A sore hamstring has limited Jones to only 69 games this season,

and he came into Sunday's game batting .217. He raised his average

nine points with the three hits, and he also drove in four runs.

"I dug myself a pretty big hole," Jones said. "I've struggled

with my swing. But it's not how you start, it's how you finish. I

feel I can go out and help this team win the division, and that's

the most important thing."

J.D. Drew extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games

with two singles, and John Thomson (7-7) allowed three runs and

eight hits in five innings to win for the first time in three


Before the game, the Expos traded outfielder Carl Everett to the

White Sox for minor league pitchers Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski.

Everett played the final 73 games of last season for Chicago after

starting 2003 with Texas, and has played just 39 games this year

because of injuries.

"We didn't get a chance to see Carl Everett at the top of his

game," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "When he left spring

training, he was in A-1 shape. Then he got hurt, and I don't think

he ever recovered."

Tony Batista had a two-run homer and a double for Montreal, 3-10

against Atlanta this season. Endy Chavez, Terrmel Sledge, Juan

Rivera and Jamey Carroll had two hits each.

Marrero's third career grand slam capped a five-run first off

Scott Downs (1-4), whose victory last weekend over Pittsburgh was

the first for a Montreal left-handed starter in 500 games since

Matt Blank beat the New York Mets on June 21, 2001.

Downs didn't make it out of the third.

Drew singled, Jones homered, and Julio Franco and Andruw Jones

chased Downs with back-to-back singles. Sunny Kim took over and

loaded the bases with a walk to Marrero, then forced a run home by

hitting Eddie Perez with a pitch.

Thomson and Rafael Furcal had run-scoring singles and, one out

later, Kim forced in a run by walking Drew.

"I don't know if it was rust or what," Downs said. "I'm a

location guy, and when I'm not locating, I have problems."

He allowed nine runs and seven hits in two innings.

"We couldn't throw the ball over the plate," Robinson said.

"That was a lot of pitches. A lot of balls. No pitching, no


Montreal wasted an opportunity to get back in the game in the

second when two runners got thrown out at home.

Juan Rivera singled, then tried to score on a double to the wall

in right-center by Sledge. But Andruw Jones quickly relayed the

ball to shortstop Rafael Furcal, who whirled and made a perfect to

throw to catcher Eddie Perez.

After Einar Diaz singled and Downs sacrificed, Chavez singled up

the middle to bring in Sledge. But Andruw Jones threw to Perez in

time to get Diaz, ending the inning and protecting a 5-1 lead.Game notes
Everett was pulled from the lineup about 30 minutes before

the game. ... The Braves don't have an open date until Aug. 2, a

run of 18 straight games after the All-Star break. ... Montreal SS

Orlando Cabrera pinch hit in the fourth and played in his 259th

consecutive game, tying Rusty Staub for the second-longest streak

in Expos' history.