PITTSBURGH -- On a night the Atlanta Braves started 21-year-old pitcher Kyle Davies and two other rookies, the only timely hit they needed to win came from a player more than old enough to be their father.
Julio Franco's two-out double in the ninth scored the game's only run and Davies shut down the Pirates into the eighth inning, leading the Braves to a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
Dominated for eight innings by Mark Redman, the Braves advanced only one runner to second - and that on a strikeout -- until the 46-year-old Franco's double off reliever Mike Gonzalez (0-2) to right scored Brian Jordan, who had reached on a force play. The RBI was only the eighth for Franco, who was making an infrequent start.
"He's old, but he can hit," Gonzalez said of Franco, a major leaguer all but a couple of years since 1982. "That's why he's been in the big leagues all these years."
Atlanta won for only the second time in six games and dealt Pittsburgh only its second loss in six games.
"But even if we're not playing that good, if the pitching's good ... we can compete until we get it together," Franco said of the Braves, who have stayed around first place in the NL East despite being only five games over .500.
Davies and relievers John Foster and Chris Reitsma combined on the six-hit shutout, which saw the Pirates strand eight runners -- most in scoring position. The right-handed Davies made a fourth successive strong start since being called up, allowing six hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He also gave the Braves a lift on a day they put left-hander Mike Hampton on the disabled list for the second time in less than a month.
"I can't say enough about the kid, he's just got unbelievable mound presence, and pitches his way out of jams," catcher Johnny Estrada said. "He doesn't get shaken up when he's in jams, he doesn't have a scared look in his eye ever."
Foster (1-0), who hasn't allowed a run in 16 appearances, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by getting Daryle Ward on a soft grounder. Reitsma pitched the ninth for his third save in five opportunities.
The Pirates had at least two runners on with one out or fewer three times in the first six innings, yet couldn't score against Davies, who has allowed runs in only two of the 23 1/3 innings he's pitched in the majors.
"This was very frustrating," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We had the guys up there we wanted, we just couldn't get it done. We didn't have the at-bats we should have had."
With runners on second and third in the first, Rob Mackowiak popped up and Ward grounded out. Redman grounded into an inning-ending double play in the fifth after the Pirates had two on and none out. In the sixth, Matt Lawton singled for his third straight hit and Freddy Sanchez doubled down the right-field line, but Jason Bay popped up and Ward hit into a double play after Mackowiak was intentionally walked.
Ward went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and stranded seven runners.
Davies lowered his ERA to 0.77, striking out five and walking four.
"He was outstanding," manager Bobby Cox said. "We just couldn't get a run for him."
Redman allowed three singles, struck out three and walked one in the eighth start in which he has allowed two earned runs or fewer. He didn't advance a runner past first until Andruw Jones struck out to apparently end the Braves' at-bat, but advanced as Redman's wild pitch eluded catcher David Ross and took second when Ross threw wildly.
Some in the crowd of 33,649 booed when Redman was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth after throwing just 84 pitches, but Redman said, "We were trying to get something going. We were doing anything we could to win the game. It was getting toward the end, and I don't have any control of that."
Age has its privileges: When a foul ball ricocheted to him at first, Franco held onto the ball for a moment, then flipped it to second baseman Marcus Giles to throw into the dugout for him. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones sat out with a sore heel, but flew out as a pinch-hitter. ... The Braves are 20-9 against Pittsburgh since 2001. ... The Braves played their 11th consecutive errorless game. ... After the game, the Pirates optioned former starting 3B Ty Wigginton to Triple-A Indianapolis to get him playing time, and recalled C-OF Ryan Doumit, who is hitting .344 with 12 homers and 35 RBI in Triple-A.
|Players of the Game|
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|Rafael Furcal, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.224|
|Marcus Giles, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.283|
|Brian Jordan, RF||4||1||0||0||0||0||2||.230|
|Julio Franco, 1B||3||0||1||1||1||0||0||.230|
|Pete Orr, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.290|
|Chris Reitsma, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Andruw Jones, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.254|
|Johnny Estrada, C||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.276|
|Wilson Betemit, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.340|
|Kelly Johnson, LF||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.053|
|a- Chipper Jones, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.288|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.220|
|Kyle Davies, P||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|John Foster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.243|
|a-lined out for Johnson in the 8th|
|2B - Julio Franco (4, Gonzalez)|
|RBI - Julio Franco (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Julio Franco (5)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Davies-Furcal-Giles, Giles-Furcal-Franco|
|John Foster (W,1-0)||0.1||0||0||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Chris Reitsma (S,3)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.67|
|IBB - Mackowiak by Kyle Davies|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Davies 119-64, John Foster 10-4, Chris Reitsma 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Davies 5-10, John Foster 1-0, Chris Reitsma 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Davies 30, John Foster 2, Chris Reitsma 3|
|Matt Lawton, RF||3||0||3||0||1||0||0||.257|
|Freddy Sanchez, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.288|
|Jason Bay, LF||3||0||1||0||1||0||2||.292|
|Rob Mackowiak, CF||2||0||0||0||2||0||2||.319|
|Daryle Ward, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||6||.270|
|Jose Castillo, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.316|
|David Ross, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.214|
|a- Bobby Hill, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Jack Wilson, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.231|
|Mark Redman, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.120|
|b- Tike Redman, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.245|
|Mike Gonzalez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Ross in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Redman in the 8th|
|2B - Freddy Sanchez (10, Davies), Jason Bay (15, Davies)|
|CS - Matt Lawton (7, 2nd base by Davies/Estrada)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - F. Sanchez-Castillo-Ward, Redman-J. Wilson-Ward|
|E - David Ross (2, Wild throw after wild pitch)|
|Mike Gonzalez (L,0-2)||1||2||1||1||2||1||0||3.27|
|IBB - A. Jones by Mike Gonzalez|
|WP - Mark Redman (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mark Redman 84-52, Mike Gonzalez 28-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Redman 17-3, Mike Gonzalez 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Mark Redman 27, Mike Gonzalez 7|
|Attendance - 33649|
|Game Time - 2:18|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Tim Timmons|