Javier Lopez hit a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves had 21 hits as they routed the Montreal Expos 14-5 Sunday and lowered their magic number for clinching the NL East to four.
Andy Ashby (12-12) won his fourth straight start as the Braves, seeking their ninth straight division title, set season highs for runs and hits and maintained a 3 1/2-game lead over the second-place Mets.
After Monday's series finale, the Braves go to New York for a three-game series. Any combination of Atlanta wins and Mets losses totaling four would clinch the division for the Braves.
Andruw Jones hit a three-run double and triple, and Keith Lockhart went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Chipper Jones was 3-for-4 and Reggie Sanders was 3-for-5 with a two-run double.
Ashby (12-12) allowed five runs and nine hits in eight innings, improving to 8-5 since Atlanta acquired him from Philadelphia on July 12. John Rocker, booed loudly when he entered the game, faced two batters in the ninth, striking out one and allowing a single to another.
Mike Thurman (4-8) lost his fourth straight decision, giving up six runs and eight hits in five innings.
Andruw Jones tripled in the first and scored on Chipper Jones' sacrifice fly.
Montreal took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half on RBI doubles by Andy Tracy and Jose Vidro, and Wilton Guerrero's run-scoring single.
But Atlanta came right back in the second and took a 6-3 lead on Keith Lockhart's two-run single and Andruw Jones' three-run double, which gave him 99 RBIs.
Rafael Furcal homered in the sixth, his fourth of the season, to make it 7-3, and the Braves tacked on three runs in the seventh, when Sanders hit a two-run double and Lockhart blooped an RBI double in front of Guerrero in left.
Montreal closed to 10-5 in the bottom half on Michael Barrett's RBI single and Peter Bergeron's run-scoring grounder.
Lopez hit a three-run homer in the eighth off Steve Kline, and Andres Galarraga added a run-scoring single in the ninth.
Notes The Braves beat Houston 13-5 on July 29. Atlanta had 17 hits twice this season, most recently on July 2 at the Mets. The Expos are assured of falling short of 1,000,000 fans at home for the third straight season, and sixth time in the franchise's 32-year history. The game drew 11,350, raising Montreal's home attendance to 919,332 with one game remaining at Olympic Stadium. Vidro has 49 doubles, five short of the Expos' record set by Mark Grudzielanek in 1997.
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