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Braves Pounce On D'backs

Kevin Millwood loved taking his turn in the rotation Wednesday night.

"Starting the game, I knew we had a chance to pick up a full game in the standings," he said. "It meant a lot more than getting one in May or June."

Chipper Jones had two run-scoring singles and Millwood gave up four hits in eight innings to lead the Braves past the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1.

Atlanta, which has won three of four, increased its NL East lead to two games over the second-place New York Mets, who lost 11-8 at Cincinnati earier in the day.

Arizona, which entered Wednesday six games behind NL West-leading San Francisco, has lost four of five. Armando Reynoso (10-10) lost his third straight start and dropped to 0-9 against the Braves, giving up three runs and four hits in seven innings.

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  • "I pitched a good game," Reynoso said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't score any runs."

    The crowd of 25,529 was the smallest at Turner Field, which opened in 1997.

    Pitching in a cold drizzle, Millwood (9-10) retired 14 straight after giving up a leadoff double to Greg Colbrunn in the fourth.

    "When I got to the third inning, I realized I wasn't using my back leg very much," Millwood said. "I get about 90 percent of my power from my legs. Something clicked. I felt like I got into a groove while I was warming up before the third."

    The Diamondbacks finally got a runner on Tony Womack's double in the eighth.

    Millwood benefited from a geat play by Rafael Furcal that ended the inning. The pitcher was knocked down by Jay Bell's liner, but the ball deflected to Furcal at shortstop and he threw to first.

    Millwood, who won for only the second time in seven starts since Aug. 1, struck out seven and walked none in his longest outing of the season. Terry Mulholland finished with a hitless ninth.

    "Pitching was the name of the game," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Kevin was struggling in the first. I don't know what that was about, but he got his velocity up and really got it going."

    Pitching coach Leo Mazzone paid Millwood a quick visit in the first.

    "It was just to remind him to make better pitches when he was ahead in the count," Cox said.

    Colbrunn doubled in Tony Womack with two outs in the first, but Atlanta tied it in the fourth when B.J. Surhoff singled home a run after fouling off five pitches.

    Atlanta took a 3-1 lead in the sixth. Furcal led off with a double and was nearly thrown out trying to dive back to second when third baseman Matt Williams fielded Andruw Jones' grounder. Second-base umpire Eric Cooper, though, ruled that Furcal beat Bell's tag.

    "He's out," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. "It's didn't have any effect on the game, but it did have an effect on the inning. Like last night, it looked like we were going to do something early."

    Chipper Jones doubled in Furcal, moving Andruw Jones to third and Andres Galarraga followed with a run-scoring, double-play grounder.

    Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones hit RBI singles off off Byung-Hyun Kim in a four-run eighth that included a run-scoring grounder by Galarraga off Mike Morgan and Javy opez's RBI single.

    "It's nice to get some hits for a change," Lopez said. "We need to hit like that every night."

    Notes

  • Millwood won his ninth game last year on June 28 after making his 16th start. He finished the season 18-7.
  • Millwood made his 31st start Wednesday.

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