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MIAMI - The Atlanta Braves are no longer merely taking a breather from losing. They are winning again - convincingly.

If the 12-3 final in Atlanta's win over the Florida Marlins Friday didn't prove that, there were plenty of small moments that did.

Line drives went into the Braves' gloves. Their grounders went past Marlins infielders. And perhaps most convincing of all, a starting pitcher with only five previous career hits went 2-for-3 with an RBI double.

Yes, that was Chuck James driving the ball to deep right field and later sliding into home plate at Dolphin Stadium. It was just that kind of night for the Braves, who won their fourth game in a row for the first time since early May.

James recorded the first extra-base hit and multi-hit game of his career, part of a 14-hit Braves barrage. More importantly, he allowed just one run in 6w innings.

It was only four days earlier that hitting coach Terry Pendleton said he was "embarrassed" by the Braves' offense, which had scored just one run in a span of 49 innings.

But nothing restores a coach's - or a team's - pride like a couple of blowout wins. Atlanta has won its past two games by a combined score of 25-3.

Third baseman Chipper Jones had a team-high four RBI. And right fielder Jeff Francoeur and second baseman Kelly Johnson combined to go 7-for-9 with one RBI apiece.

Center fielder Andruw Jones is still hitting below .200. He's at .199 after going 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. But what Braves fan could complain Friday after the way most of June has gone?

With the win, Atlanta (42-38) moved into second place in the National League East, four games behind the New York Mets.

Reach Brian Costa at brian.costa@morris.com.

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jerryyoung
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jerryyoung 06/30/07 - 05:35 am
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Come on Braves! I am a

Come on Braves! I am a diehard Braves fan living smack dab in the middle of Phillies territory and not too far from Mets Country. All I ever hear is Phillies this or Mets that, but I wear my Braves cap (both figuratively and literally) proudly.

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