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Braves drop eight in a row for first time since 1989

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- After being swept in their first two series against National League teams this season, the Toronto Blue Jays were determined to end that pattern in their series-opener at Atlanta.

"We managed it like it was the seventh game of the World Series; it was a game we had to have," said Toronto manager John Gibbons after the Blue Jays beat the Braves 6-5 Tuesday night to give Atlanta its first eight-game losing streak in 17 years.

Gibbons used 18 players, including six pitchers, in the game.

Reed Johnson homered and had three hits as Toronto improved to 1-6 against the National League this season.

"We obviously didn't get off to a good start in interleague play, so it was huge for us to win a game like that," Johnson said.

The Braves are losing to teams from both leagues. They have dropped eight straight games -- four to the NL and four to the AL -- for the first time since April 24-May 2, 1989. Atlanta has lost 18 of 21 to drop to the bottom of the NL East.

"It's beyond confusion," said Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur. "We're making too many good plays, too many good pitches, to not win. We've just got to keep going."

Alex Rios drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning for Toronto, which rebounded from a three-game sweep by Florida over the weekend. The Blue Jays won after the Braves fought back for a 4-4 tie in the sixth and a 5-5 tie in the seventh.

Each time the Atlanta bullpen gave the lead back to the Blue Jays.

"You get hope there for a minute, and 20 minutes later it's gone and you're back down again," said Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche. "Nothing's gonna come easy right now."

The Braves' bullpen began the night with a 5.29 ERA, last in the NL.

"Somebody has to hold somebody," said Braves manager Bobby Cox. "They have a lot of pride in what they do. It's just we're not holding anybody."

The Blue Jays kept pace with Boston and New York in the AL East. Toronto is still 3½ games behind the first-place Red Sox.

"All of the wins are great for us with the Red Sox and Yankees playing the way they are," Johnson said after lifting his batting average to .369.

In the eighth, Rios drove in pinch-runner Eric Hinske from third with a single to left. Hinske was running for Bengie Molina, who led off the inning with a walk from Tyler Yates (0-1).

Scott Schoeneweis (2-0), who struck out pinch-hitter Matt Diaz with the bases loaded to end the seventh, earned the win, giving up two walks in one inning. B.J. Ryan got the final four outs for his 18th save in 19 opportunities.

Toronto's Josh Towers, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse for the start, gave up six hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander had four strikeouts with one walk and gave up a long home run to Andruw Jones.

Atlanta's Jorge Sosa gave up eight hits and four runs in six innings, including home runs to Johnson and Troy Glaus.

The Blue Jays scored two runs in the fourth inning to build a 2-0 lead. After Vernon Wells hit a one-out double to left field, Sosa struck out Glaus. But with two outs, Sosa walked Lyle Overbay and gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Shea Hillenbrand and Molina.

Jones' 17th homer in the fourth inning cut the lead to 2-1.

Johnson extended the lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning with his fourth homer of the season. Glaus added his 21st homer, which traveled 438 feet to center, to lead off the sixth inning for a 4-1 lead.

The Braves rallied with three runs in the sixth, knocking Towers out of the game.

A single by Francouer, the Braves' third hit of the inning, drove in Chipper Jones. A grounder by LaRoche off reliever Scott Downs drove in Brian McCann from third. Scott Thorman's first major league hit, a single to right, tied the game at 4-4.

Toronto answered quickly off 6-foot-8 right-hander Phil Stockman in the seventh. Johnson led off with a double, his third hit of the game. A single by Rios moved Johnson to third, and he scored on a grounder to second by Wells for a 5-4 lead.

The Braves again pulled even in the bottom of the seventh when Marcus Giles reached on shortstop Aaron Hill's error and scored on Edgar Renteria's double to right off Justin Speier.

Notes

  • Molina extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the longest for the Blue Jays this season, with his run-scoring single in the fourth inning.
  • Andruw Jones threw out Hillenbrand at the plate in the sixth inning when he attempted to score from first when Molina's single bounced past Jones. Jones' throw was to the first-base side of the plate, but McCann made a lunging tag for the out.
  • Wells stole second and third in the seventh.
 
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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Josh Towers, called up from Triple-A Syracuse for the start, throws 5 1/3 innings vs. the Braves.  (AP)
Josh Towers, called up from Triple-A Syracuse for the start, throws 5 1/3 innings vs. the Braves. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

R. Johnson
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF-RF4231110 .369
Alex Rios, RF5021001 .329
    B.J. Ryan, P0000000 .000
Vernon Wells, CF5111013 .321
Troy Glaus, SS-3B5121032 .254
Lyle Overbay, 1B3100200 .279
Shea Hillenbrand, 3B3021102 .325
    Justin Speier, P0000000 .000
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Jason Frasor, P0000000 .000
    Frank Catalanotto, LF1000001 .327
Bengie Molina, C3021102 .299
    Eric Hinske, PR0100000 .259
    Gregg Zaun, C0000100 .330
Russ Adams, 2B4010104 .248
Josh Towers, P3000012 .200
    Scott Downs, P0000000 .000
    Aaron Hill, SS0000000 .282
Totals3661367617 
Batting
2B - Reed Johnson (11, Stockman), Vernon Wells (19, Sosa)
HR - Reed Johnson (4, Sosa), Troy Glaus (21, Sosa)
SH - Aaron Hill (3)
RBI - Reed Johnson (16), Alex Rios (50), Vernon Wells (57), Troy Glaus (53), Shea Hillenbrand (34), Bengie Molina (17)
2-OUT RBI - Shea Hillenbrand (11), Bengie Molina (5)
SB - Vernon Wells 2 (9, 2nd base off Stockman/McCann, 3rd base off Stockman/McCann)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Glaus-R. Adams-Overbay
E - Russ Adams (11, Misplayed grounder), Aaron Hill (8, Misplayed grounder)
Toronto Blue Jays
Josh Towers 5.1644141 8.76
Scott Downs (BS,2) 0.2100000 5.18
Justin Speier (BS,3) 0.1110110 2.70
Scott Schoeneweis (W,2-0) 1000210 6.26
Jason Frasor (H,8) 0.1000000 5.86
B.J. Ryan (S,18) 1.1000010 0.51
IBB - A. Jones by Justin Speier, Francoeur by Scott Schoeneweis
WP - Josh Towers (1), Scott Downs (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Towers 53-37, Justin Speier 15-9, Scott Schoeneweis 15-6, Jason Frasor 7-4, B.J. Ryan 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Towers 4-9, Scott Downs 2-0, Justin Speier 1-0, Scott Schoeneweis 1-1, B.J. Ryan 1-2
Batters Faced - Josh Towers 24, Scott Downs 3, Justin Speier 4, Scott Schoeneweis 5, Jason Frasor 1, B.J. Ryan 4
Atlanta Braves
Marcus Giles, 2B4100112 .244
Edgar Renteria, SS5011013 .313
Chipper Jones, 3B5110022 .284
Andruw Jones, CF4111102 .277
Brian McCann, C5120010 .358
Jeff Francoeur, RF3121101 .250
Adam LaRoche, 1B3001012 .239
   a- Matt Diaz, PH-LF1000013 .352
Scott Thorman, LF-1B4011001 .125
Jorge Sosa, P2000002 .105
   b- Pete Orr, PH1000001 .212
    Phil Stockman, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
   c- Wilson Betemit, PH0000100 .288
    Macay McBride, P0000000 .000
Totals375854719 
a-struck out for LaRoche in the 7th
b-grounded out for Sosa in the 6th
c-walked for Paronto in the 8th
Batting
2B - Edgar Renteria (13, Speier)
HR - Andruw Jones (17, Towers)
RBI - Edgar Renteria (30), Andruw Jones (61), Jeff Francoeur (53), Adam LaRoche (37), Scott Thorman (1)
2-OUT RBI - Scott Thorman (1)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1, Andruw Jones 1
DP - Renteria-Giles-LaRoche, Francoeur-McCann
Atlanta Braves
Jorge Sosa 6844352 5.40
Phil Stockman 1211110 3.00
Tyler Yates (L,0-1) 0.1111200 4.66
Chad Paronto 0.2100000 3.66
Macay McBride 1100100 4.57
IBB - Overbay by Phil Stockman, Johnson by Tyler Yates, Zaun by Macay McBride
Pitches-Strikes - Jorge Sosa 91-57, Phil Stockman 26-14, Tyler Yates 9-2, Chad Paronto 3-3, Macay McBride 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jorge Sosa 8-3, Phil Stockman 2-0, Tyler Yates 1-0, Macay McBride 1-2
Batters Faced - Jorge Sosa 27, Phil Stockman 6, Tyler Yates 4, Chad Paronto 2, Macay McBride 5
Game Information
Attendance - 26915
Game Time - 3:19
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Joe West