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San Diego at Atlanta

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Atlanta «10210001x590

Francoeur's slump fully busted after homering Braves past Padres

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Jeff Francoeur is starting to resemble last season's rookie sensation.

Francoeur homered for the second night in a row, hitting a two-out shot in the eighth inning that gave the Atlanta Braves a 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday.

After starting the season with only two hits in 36 at-bats, Francoeur actually heard boos from the hometown fans who idolized him a year ago when he finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after getting called up to the big leagues at midseason.

Now, he's on a 7-for-9 roll that has lifted his batting average to .200.

"It's good to be back over the Mendoza Line, or at least right at it," Francoeur quipped. "Hopefully I can keep going from here."

Francoeur had three hits against the Padres, including a liner off Scott Linebrink (0-1) that barely cleared the left-field wall. Ahead in the count 3-1, he sat on a fastball from the hard-throwing right-hander.

"I felt like that was the hardest ball I've ever hit," Francoeur said. "Maybe it's because I haven't been hitting, but it sure felt like it."

Linebrink concurred.

"He murdered it," the pitcher said. "He's looking for one pitch and he got it."

Francoeur homered after Braves manager Bobby Cox was tossed from the game for arguing a call at first base. The previous hitter, Adam LaRoche, appeared to beat a throw from catcher Mike Piazza, who dropped the ball on a third strike and had trouble getting a handle in front of the plate.

LaRoche threw back his head in disgust and Cox stormed from the dugout, quickly getting ejected for the second time this year by umpire Brian O'Nora. The Braves have won both games after their manager was thrown out.

"I hope he keeps doing it," Francoeur said. "Bobby always fires 'em up. When he gets going, the fans get going."

Oscar Villareal (4-0) became the first four-game winner in the majors with a scoreless eighth. Chris Reitsma worked around two hits in the ninth to earn his fourth save, retiring Terrmel Sledge on a grounder for the final out with runners at second and third.

Tim Hudson got off to another rough start for the Braves, giving up a run-scoring double to Brian Giles in the first. But he finally made it beyond four innings for the first time this season, coming out with two outs in the seventh in a 4-4 game.

The Padres tried to knock out Hudson in the fourth, scoring three times to erase a 3-1 deficit. Vinny Castilla and Mark Bellhorn hit back-to-back RBI doubles, and Dave Roberts put San Diego ahead with a run-scoring single. Sledge struck out to end the inning.

Atlanta tied it up in the bottom half on Wilson Betemit's groundout, which scored Francoeur. Brian McCann had the biggest hit of the inning, a double to right after Francoeur led off with a single.

Hudson was awful in his first two starts, giving up 14 hits, 13 runs (11 earned) and six walks for an ERA of 12.38. He was better this time but far from overpowering, giving up nine hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings.

"Overall, I'm happy with the way I threw the ball," Hudson said. "This was a lot better. It's something to build from."

Edgar Renteria tied it at 1 in the first with a homer into the left-field seats. He's hit safely in all 11 games this season, his first with the Braves after coming over from Boston in an offseason trade.

Ryan Langerhans put the Braves ahead in the third with his hitting and his baserunning. First, he doubled down the right-field line to drive in a run, taking third on the late throw to the plate. Then, on a wild pitch that bounced about 10 feet away from catcher Mike Piazza, Langerhans took off for home and beat Piazza's toss to pitcher Chan Ho Park covering.

Langerhans also had a stellar defensive game in left field.

In the fifth, he played the carom perfectly when Adrian Gonzalez lined a one-hopper into the corner, throwing out the runner attempting to stretch it into a double. Two innings later, Langerhans made a leaping, over-the-shoulder catch at the edge of the warning track that took away a hit from Sledge and probably denied the Padres the go-ahead run.

"They've got a great outfield and it won the game for them tonight," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. "Shoot, they made a couple great defensive plays that changed the game."

Park was lifted after five innings. He gave up four runs and seven hits.

Notes

  • OF Mike Cameron, on the DL with a strained side muscle, took a step toward rejoining San Diego when he took 50 swings off a tee before the game. "We've been cautious with him," Bochy said. "If he feels anything, we're going to back him off."
  • Daniel Tompkins, a 23-year-old Army specialist who served in Iraq, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Tompkins received a Bronze Star for heroism after he saved more than a dozen of his comrades in a roadside bomb that left him wounded in October. He is now back at Georgia's Fort Stewart.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Three home runs in two days make Jeff Francoeur a happy man.  (AP)
Three home runs in two days make Jeff Francoeur a happy man. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
San Diego

M. Bellhorn
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
San Diego Padres
Dave Roberts, CF4021100 .286
Terrmel Sledge, LF5110015 .222
Brian Giles, RF4021011 .269
Mike Piazza, C4000012 .222
    Scott Linebrink, P0000000 .000
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4010011 .361
Khalil Greene, SS3100110 .229
Vinny Castilla, 3B4121000 .281
    Josh Barfield, PR0000000 .200
Mark Bellhorn, 2B4121011 .300
Chan Ho Park, P2000002 .000
    Clay Hensley, P0000000 .000
   a- Geoff Blum, PH1000000 .000
    Alan Embree, P0000000 .000
    Doug Mirabelli, C1010000 .250
    Rob Bowen, PR0000000 .333
Totals3641142612 
a-grounded out for Hensley in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brian Giles (1, Hudson), Vinny Castilla (2, Hudson), Mark Bellhorn (2, Hudson)
RBI - Dave Roberts (4), Brian Giles (2), Vinny Castilla (5), Mark Bellhorn (1)
2-OUT RBI - Dave Roberts (4)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Khalil Greene (1, Wild throw)
San Diego Padres
Chan Ho Park 5744151 5.59
Clay Hensley 1100010 9.00
Alan Embree 1000010 0.00
Scott Linebrink (L,0-1) 1111021 2.25
WP - Chan Ho Park (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Chan Ho Park 98-0, Clay Hensley 15-0, Alan Embree 11-0, Scott Linebrink 17-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chan Ho Park 6-4, Clay Hensley 2-0, Alan Embree 2-0
Batters Faced - Chan Ho Park 23, Clay Hensley 4, Alan Embree 3, Scott Linebrink 4
Atlanta Braves
Marcus Giles, 2B4000021 .220
Edgar Renteria, SS4221010 .367
Ryan Langerhans, LF3111100 .406
Andruw Jones, CF4010012 .295
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000032 .231
Jeff Francoeur, RF4231010 .200
Brian McCann, C4010001 .265
Wilson Betemit, 3B3011011 .375
Tim Hudson, P3000003 .167
    Mike Remlinger, P0000000 .000
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
    Chris Reitsma, P0000000 .000
Totals335941910 
Batting
2B - Ryan Langerhans (4, Park), Andruw Jones (3, Park), Brian McCann (3, Park), Wilson Betemit (4, Park)
HR - Edgar Renteria (2, Park), Jeff Francoeur (3, Linebrink)
RBI - Edgar Renteria (11), Ryan Langerhans (8), Jeff Francoeur (6), Wilson Betemit (6)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur (3)
SB - Andruw Jones (1, 2nd base off Park/Piazza)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Langerhans 1
DP - LaRoche-Renteria-Hudson
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson 6.2944230 9.20
Mike Remlinger 0.1000010 2.08
Oscar Villarreal (W,4-0) 1000020 1.29
Chris Reitsma (S,4) 1200000 6.35
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 90-0, Mike Remlinger 6-0, Oscar Villarreal 12-0, Chris Reitsma 10-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 9-6, Oscar Villarreal 1-0, Chris Reitsma 2-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 29, Mike Remlinger 1, Oscar Villarreal 3, Chris Reitsma 5
Game Information
Attendance - 36406
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Chuck Meriwether, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Phil Cuzzi, Third Base - Jerry Crawford