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Giants (not Bonds) hammer James

    ATLANTA — Even with Barry Bonds on the bench, the San Francisco Giants put on quite a power display.
    The Giants homered in each of the first four innings off Chuck James, scored in every inning until the eighth and went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 9-3 Thursday night, salvaging the finale of a three-game series.
    San Francisco jumped ahead quickly on Bengie Molina’s three-run homer in the first. He batted cleanup in place of Bonds, who got the night off after hitting his 759th career homer on Wednesday.
    Daniel Ortmeier led off the second with his fourth homer, Randy Winn hit a solo shot in the third and light-hitting Kevin Frandsen finished off James (9-9) with a two-out homer in the fourth, giving the Giants a 6-2 lead.
    San Francisco drove two other pitches to the warning track against James, who matched a season high by giving up six earned runs. He also equaled his shortest outing of the year by lasting just 3 2-3 innings.
    Tim Lincecum (7-3) added another win to his strong rookie season. He went five innings, giving up five hits and three earned runs before coming out after throwing 89 pitches.
    Pat Misch, just back from the minors, followed with three perfect innings before Brian Wilson worked the ninth.
    Misch was recalled from Triple-A Fresno after Randy Messenger broke a bone in his non-pitching hand during batting practice the previous day.
    The Giants won for only the second time in nine games.
    Atlanta bounced back after Molina’s homer, putting up two runs in the bottom half of the first. But James and the Braves’ bullpen couldn’t shut down the Giants, who stretched out their lead with single runs in every inning from the second through the seventh.
    Molina had four RBIs in all, adding a sacrifice fly in the seventh. The deep fly ball was the other offensive weapon of choice for the Giants, who also got sac flies from Winn and pinch-hitter Ryan Klesko.
    San Francisco made the most of its 10 hits, leaving only three runners on base.
    Lincecum surrendered two hits and a walk in the first. The Braves pushed across runs on a wild pitch and Mark Teixeira’s force-out, but they didn’t do much after that.
    Yunel Escobar accounted for the Braves’ only other run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Notes: Rajai Davis ended the game with a leaping grab at the wall, robbing Andruw Jones of a two-run homer. ... The umpires had an easy night after ejecting Klesko and both managers the previous game. No one came close to getting tossed in this one. ... Braves C Brian McCann extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the fourth. ... Frandsen was mired in a 2-for-27 slump before his second homer of the season.

Julio Franco reports to Class A Rome Braves
    Julio Franco arrived Thursday at the latest stop on his baseball odyssey — the Class A Rome Braves. With a smile on his face, he said he planned to ‘‘enjoy this to the max.’’
    A quarter century after his first game in the major leagues, the 48-year-old Franco was in Rome to play first base in a South Atlantic League game with the Greenville Drive.
    ‘‘My goal while I’m here is to get some at-bats and contribute to the team any way I can,’’ said Franco, who was designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves two weeks ago. After clearing waivers, he agreed to a minor league assignment.
    The former American League batting champ, who turns 49 next week, said he would stay with Rome for the next four days, and might join next week’s road trip in Savannah.
    Franco’s career has included eight major league teams as well as stints in Mexico, Japan and Korea. He likely will rejoin Atlanta on Sept. 1 when the major league rosters are expanded.
    ‘‘It’s an honor to have him here,’’ Rome pitcher Cole Rohrbough said. ‘‘We can learn a lot just from watching him, and I’m going to try to do that as much as possible.’’
    Next to Franco, the oldest Rome player is Jorge Acosta, who turns 24 next month.
    Franco made his major league debut in 1982 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He helped Atlanta win division titles from 2001-05, and signed a two-year deal with the Mets prior to the ’06 season. He was released last month, the re-signed with the Braves and spent roughly two weeks with the team before being designated for assignment when Atlanta acquired Mark Teixeria.

Carlyle bails out bottom of Braves rotation with seven wins
    Buddy Carlyle is realistic about his abilities.
    ‘‘I’m not the most gifted pitcher in the world,’’ the Atlanta Braves right-hander said Thursday, standing at his locker before a game against the San Francisco Giants. ‘‘I know if you let your guard down for a second, these guys are going to hit you.’’
    For a guy who doesn’t have the most dominating stuff, Carlyle has made a major contribution to the Braves’ rotation. Despite significant time in the minors, he’s fourth on the team in wins (7-4) and had a respectable ERA (4.39).
    Carlyle has brought some stability to the bottom part of the rotation, though the Braves have yet to lock down a fifth starter.
    ‘‘I’m just trying to keep it up,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s a long way to go. If I start pitching poorly, people aren’t going to care how I did before. I’ve got to keep performing.’’
    Still, the 29-year-old Carlyle already has contributed far more than the Braves could have expected. He had only one career win before this season — way back in 1999 with San Diego — and started out at Triple-A Richmond.
    But, when Atlanta struggled to fill out the rotation behind John Smoltz, Tim Hudson and Chuck James, Carlyle got his chance.
    ‘‘I’m doing a lot of the same things I did the past few years,’’ he said. ‘‘I just needed an opportunity.’’
    Carlyle was only 21 when he got his first big league win. He had to wait eight years for next one, spending two years in Japan, then bouncing around the minors with four different organizations.
    Through it all, he never lost sight of his goal.
    ‘‘I know how hard it is to get here,’’ Carlyle said. ‘‘And I know how hard it is to stay.’’

Renteria runs
    Shortstop Edgar Renteria worked out his sprained right ankle before the game, doing some light running from the foul line to center field.
    He’s eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday but may have to spend a few extra days on the sideline.
    ‘‘It’s close,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I can walk perfectly. But in this game you have to run.’’

Two-million club
    The Braves went past 2 million in attendance this week, the 17th year in a row they’ve reached that milestone.
    The Braves came into Thursday’s game having drawn 2,068,562 — an average of just under 34,000 per outing. If they can maintain that pace, they would draw their highest attendance since over 2.8 million tickets were sold in 2001.
    The franchise record is 3.8 million in 1993, when the Braves virtually sold out the season at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. They haven’t drawn less than 2 million since 1990, when only 980,129 turned out to watch a last-place team.
    The next season, of course, Atlanta went from worst to first, launching a stretch of 14 straight division titles.

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