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Teixeira's three homers lift Braves to win

POSTED: June 27, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Mark Teixeira, right, celebrates his two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning Sunday at Turner Field in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Mark Teixeira sounded more relieved than overjoyed after his second career three-homer game.

"It was good. I haven’t been hitting the ball great this year," he said.

He definitely hit the ball well Sunday, connecting from both sides of the plate to lead the Atlanta Braves to an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

With Chipper Jones sitting out with a strained right quadriceps, Atlanta’s other switch-hitting slugger came up with his best game of the season. He drove in four runs for the third time this season.

"Teixeira blasted off today," manager Bobby Cox said. "He’s got a lot of RBIs. He’s just been waiting for that home run swing to come around, and it sure did today."

Teixeira hit solo drives batting left-handed in the second and fourth innings, and a two-run shot from the right side in the seventh for his 13th homer of the season. It was the first three-homer game for an Atlanta player at Turner Field.

"I haven’t been very consistent," said Teixeira, who began the day hitting only .264 with 10 homers and 51 RBIs. "For a game like that to help us win, it was very nice."

Tim Hudson (8-5) allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.96 and finally win an interleague game with
Atlanta. Before Sunday, Hudson was 0-10 with a 7.82 ERA in 12 interleague starts with the Braves. He was 0-3 with an 11.25 ERA against AL West teams.

"He was Huddy today," catcher Brian McCann said. "We needed a big win and he stepped up and did it for us."

Hudson, who was 10-2 with a 2.50 ERA in interleague games with Oakland from 1999-2004, said he wasn’t aware of his poor record against AL teams until late last season.

"It’s just one of those things where you happen to have bad games against teams from the American League," he said.

McCann followed Teixeira’s fourth-inning homer with a drive over the center-field wall against Carlos Silva (3-9), who left after the inning and allowed four runs and nine hits.

Teixeira’s first three-homer game came on July 13, 2006, for Texas at Baltimore. It’s the fourth time in his career he has connected from both sides of the plate.

"The second one was the real killer, for we were still in the game then," said Jim Riggleman, who lost two of three in his first series as Seattle manager. "The third was icing on the cake.

"He’s a special guy, and he had a big day."

Jeff Clement hit a two-run homer off Mike Gonzalez in Seattle’s three-run ninth. Gonzalez was making his second appearance in his return from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

Gregor Blanco had an RBI single in the fourth and Ruben Gotay drove in two with a base hit in the fifth for Atlanta, which finished with 14 hits.

Hudson earned his first win since May 22, bouncing back after giving up six runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-4 loss at Texas on Tuesday.

"He had his off-speed stuff working early in the game, which I think was key," McCann said, adding "we kind of got fastball-happy" against Texas.

Jones missed his second straight start after getting hurt on Friday night. Cox said he isn’t expected to play today when the Braves open a series against Milwaukee.

The Braves also were without shortstop Yunel Escobar sidelined by a strained right hip flexor.

"It was huge for Teixeira because we had two of our guys out," Hudson said. "He picked us up. That’s the kind of thing that’s needed to happen around here."

Seattle’s Jose Vidro had a welt on his cheek after his foul ball bounced off the plate and hit him in the face in the third inning. Vidro dropped to one knee and had assistance from the team’s medical staff before remaining in the game. He was replaced by Richie Sexson in the bottom of the seventh.Notes: Teixeira is the fifth player overall to hit three homers in a game at Turner Field. Alfonso Soriano, who hit three homers for the Chicago Cubs in Atlanta in 2007, was the last to accomplish the feat. ... Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre missed his second straight game with a bruised left index finger. He could return today at the New York Mets, according to Riggleman. ... Seattle RHP Brandon Morrow (back spasms) is expected to rejoin the team in New York today.



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