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Williams, Braves Pound S.F.

Gerald Williams is playing like he wants to be in the Braves lineup every day.

Williams took advantage of a rare chance to start against a right-hander, setting a career-high with his 11th homer of the season and also driving in five runs as Atlanta routed the San Francisco Giants 15-4 Saturday.

"That guy has been igniting us in the leadoff spot," teammate Brian Jordan said. "He's been hitting right-handers, left-handers, it makes no difference. He's aggressive on the basepaths. He's setting the table for us and picking the team up."

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Game Summary

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  • Williams, who normally starts against left-handers, moved into the lineup after Eddie Perez began serving a four-game suspension, forcing a series of roster moves that resulted in Ryan Klesko shifting to first base.

    Williams, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games, is 6-for-11 in the first two games of the series against the Giants. He has homered twice and driven in eight runs.

    "It's just a matter of getting enough opportunities," Williams said with a shrug.

    Terry Mulholland (7-6) gave up four straight hits to begin the game, falling behind 3-0. But he survived the shaky start to pick up his 100th career win and his first for the Braves since being acquired a week earlier in a trade with the Chicago Cubs.

    "I knew the 100th was going to happen eventually if I hung around long enough," said Mulholland, whose career record is 100-113 in 13 seasons. "That just means I've been around a while probably longer than I ever figured I would be."

    "Now," the 36-year-old added, "when people ask me ow long I plan to hang around, I tell them maybe 10 more years. I'm not putting any limits on myself."

    The Braves, who began the day 1½ games behind the New York Mets in the NL East, won their third in a row. The fading Giants, meanwhile, dropped to 7-15 since the All-Star break and fell 4½ games behind Arizona in the NL West.

    "Hopefully, we've hit rock bottom and are on the way up," San Francisco manager Dusty Baker said.

    Atlanta pounded Russ Ortiz (12-8) and three San Francisco relievers for 16 hits, blowing the game open with five runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. When Jordan capped the sixth with a two-run homer, Giants pitcher Rich Rodriguez flipped his glove in the air in disgust.

    "We're not doing anything right pitching, hitting, fielding," Charlie Hayes said. "I guess that's why we're losing."

    Williams had a two-run single in the second, a double in the fourth and a three-run homer in the sixth. His 11th homer eclipsed his previous career-best of 10, set in each of the last two years. He also tied his career high for RBIs in a game, initially set on Sept. 11, 1998, against Florida.

    In his last 41 games, Williams in hitting .376 (38-for-101). For good measure, he also threw out a runner at third in the eighth inning.

    "He's what we need in the lineup," Jordan said. "Hopefully, he'll start playing every day for us."

    The game started ominously for the Braves when the first four hitters reached base and Keith Lockhart was knocked out in a collision at first with F.P. Santangelo. The Giants had six hits and a 3-0 lead before the inning was over, but missed a chance for a huge inning when Hayes was thrown out trying to steal third.

    The Braves went ahead with four runs in the second, highlighted by Williams' two-run single. The Giants tied it in the third on Hayes' fourth homer, but Atlanta regained the lead for good in the bottom of the inning when Ryan Klesko hit a run-scoring double.

    Klesko had three RBIs and Greg Myers drove in two runs for the Braves.

    After the first, Mulholland allowed only three more hits. He lasted six innings, long enough to win his first start for the Braves. He gave up all four runs, but only two were earned.

    Ortiz was knocked out after 4 1-3 innings, having surrendered nine runs seven earned and nine hits.


  • Lckhart, who was hurt while covering first, was taken to a hospital for a couple of stitches in his lower lip, but X-rays showed no major damage.
  • The Giants played without Barry Bonds, who suffered back spasms Friday night. He was available for pinch-hitting duty but wasn't needed.
  • Perez dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension and began serving his penalty. Perez was suspended for his role in a July 30 brawl with the Phillies.
  • Since a suspended player can't be replaced on the 25-man roster, Atlanta was forced to recall catcher Pascual Matos from Triple-A Richmond. First baseman Randall Simon, who was hitting .314 with four homers and 22 RBIs, was sent down and will have to spend a minimum of 10 days in the minors.
  • The 15 runs were the third-highest output of the season for the Braves.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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