Originally created 07/06/06

St. Louis can't cool off Atlanta



ATLANTA - The utmost concern for the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday was whether another lengthy weather delay was in store, like the two previous evenings.

The St. Louis Cardinals? They simply weren't a factor. Jeff Suppan ensured that much very early in the night.

Atlanta jumped on the Cards' starter for five in the first, added six more in the fourth and breezed to a 14-4 victory and a series win against St. Louis at ominously overcast - but ultimately dry - Turner Field.

Despite playing through pain in his right foot, Chipper Jones seemed to be feeling OK in helping the Braves to their highest run total since they scored 14 on April 7, during the first week of the season.

Jones went 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI and a pair of walks in his first start since Saturday because of an inflamed toe. In a nine-game hitting streak, the National League's current Player of the Week is 17-for-34 (.500) with three homers.

With help from Jones and the offense, Chuck James did enough by allowing four runs in six innings to pick up his third victory in his third career start. The 24-year-old James (3-0) became the first Brave to do that since Rick Behenna in 1983.

The slight-of-build left-hander's success has, coincidence or not, run alongside Atlanta slowly coming out of its June swoon.

By beating the Cardinals in two of three, the Braves (37-48) have won three of their past four series. And they were up in the rubber game against the Yankees last week until Alex Rodriguez's 12th-inning walkoff homer flipped that around.

Suppan gave up 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits in 3q innings. Saying he threw glorified batting practice wouldn't require the word glorified.

Marcus Giles' walk and Edgar Renteria's triple to begin the game merely set a tone that continued throughout the early innings against Suppan (6-5).

Reach R. Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.