Braves 3 Mets 1 (56-46, 1st place, 4.5 games ahead of Phillies and Marlins) Hits: Mike Hampton joined Russ Ortiz in the Braves' "5-0 in July" club, earning both pitchers a spot on the Pitcher of the Month ballot. Hamptom was masterful in seven innings of work, allowing only one run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts to earn his seventh win. And because the Mets only scored on run, the Braves took over first place in MLB with a 3.69 team ERA (Cubs fell to #2 at 3.71). Charles Thomas extended a modest hitting streak to seven games and raised his average to .364, but Marcus Giles was the offensive player of the game with two singles, a double, a stolen base, two runs scored, and an RBI. Andruw Jones also recorded two hits to raise his batting average for the month above .300. Chris Reitsma earned his 18th hold and hasn't allowed a run in his last six appearances. John Smoltz, who hasn't allowed a run in 12 appearances (15 innings), earned his 24th save and lowered his ERA to 1.87. Perhaps most importantly, the Braves defense was flawless tonight! Misses: Chipper Jones was 0-for-4 again to lower his batting average to .221. Is there a reason why he's struggling so badly? Line of the Day: Russ Ortiz and Mike Hampton (combined) in July: 10-0 in 11 games, 77.1 IP, 60 H, 27 BB, 18 ER, 2.09 ERA. I don't know what's gotten into those two, but I hope it keeps up for both of them and catches on with the rest of the team! NL East: The Cubs beat the Phillies 10-7 and the Expos pounded the Marlins again this time 9-0, to help deepen the gaping hole in the NL East between the first-place Braves and the nearest competition to 4.5 games. The Mets fell to seven games back.