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Smoltz saves day for Braves

By PAUL NEWBERRY

ATLANTA ? Despite another mediocre outing from Greg Maddux, the Atlanta Braves rallied for their fifth straight victory, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Friday night.

Vinny Castilla's two-run double capped a four-run sixth inning for the Braves, who climbed above .500 (9-8) for the first time this season and within a half-game of first-place Montreal in the NL East.

Maddux left trailing 4-1. The four-time Cy Young winner gave up eight hits and three earned runs in 5 2-3 innings, though he still managed to lower his ERA from 8.27 to 7.52.

The Braves bailed out their starter in the sixth, taking advantage of some shoddy Phillies defense.

Marcus Giles led off with a grounder to third, but the ball went right through the legs of Tyler Houston for a two-base error. Gary Sheffield singled and Chipper Jones walked to load the bases against Randy Wolf (2-1) with no outs.

The runners held when Andruw Jones popped out to shortstop, but Julio Franco ended Wolf's night by blooping a single to right, driving in two runs.

Carlos Silva came out of the bullpen to face Castilla, who lined a drive to center field. Ricky Ledee played it terribly, taking a step in, then turning the wrong way as the ball sailed over his glove for a gift double. Both runners scored to give the Braves their first lead of the night.

John Smoltz struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his sixth save in as many opportunities.

Maddux fell behind just two hitters into the game. Jimmy Rollins lined the second pitch to the wall in right-center for a double, then David Bell lined a single off Maddux's left foot to make it 1-0.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal bobbled a potential double-play grounder for an error, setting up Mike Lieberthal's sacrifice fly.