- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 25, 2005

ATLANTA — Marcus Giles and Andruw Jones hit first-inning home runs as the Atlanta Braves took an early six-run lead and beat Baltimore 7-5 last night to knock the Orioles out of first place in the American League East.

The Braves led 7-1 after three innings before Baltimore closed the gap with homers by Larry Bigbie and Brian Roberts.

The Orioles had been in sole possession of first place in the AL East since April 23. But with Boston’s 8-0 win over Philadelphia, the Red Sox moved a half-game ahead of Baltimore.

Chris Reitsma got four outs for his sixth save in eight chances. The Braves, who have won six of eight, moved past the Phillies and into second place in the NL East.

The Orioles have lost eight of their last 10 road games after an 18-8 start away from Baltimore.

Giles had two hits and drove in three runs. Jones moved into a tie with Chicago’s Derrek Lee for the NL homer lead with his 22nd.

Atlanta’s Kyle Davies (3-2) outpitched Baltimore’s Hayden Penn (2-1) in a matchup of rookies. Davies, 21, gave up eight hits and five runs in six innings. Penn, 20, gave up eight hits and seven runs in only two-plus innings. Each gave up two home runs.

Roberts led off the game with a double, moved to third on a single by Luis Matos and scored when Miguel Tejada hit into a double play for a 1-0 lead.

The Braves jumped on Penn in the first with three runs on back-to-back homers by Giles, his sixth, and Jones. Giles’ two-run shot drove in Rafael Furcal, who walked.

Penn gave up three more runs on four hits in the second inning. Wilson Betemit led off with a triple to center and scored on Ryan Langerhans’ single. Kelly Johnson drove in Langerhans with a double and scored on Giles’ single to right for a 6-1 lead.

Penn was lifted after giving up singles to Adam LaRoche and Betemit to lead off the third inning. James Baldwin gave up a run-scoring single to Davies for a 7-1 lead.

Penn had the shortest of his seven starts since he was called up from Class AA Bowie on May 26.

Davies gave up only two earned runs in his first four major league starts but allowed 15 runs in three games since then, and he had difficulty protecting the 7-1 lead.

The Orioles began their comeback with Bigbie’s three-run homer in the fourth inning. It drove in Rafael Palmeiro, who just missed a home run on a double off the center-field wall, and Chris Gomez, who walked.

Roberts led off the fifth inning with his 12th homer, cutting the lead to 7-5.

Notes — The first-inning homers by Giles and Jones were the Braves’ fourth back-to-back homers this season. … Attendance at Turner Field was 43,822, the largest crowd since 50,939 for the Braves’ April 8 home opener. … This is the eighth straight year the teams have played.

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