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Atlanta (23-12) «0000040004130
Pittsburgh (15-19)000100000170

Braves end homer drought with back-to-back jacks vs. Pirates

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- The Atlanta Braves were winning even without homering. When they went deep twice in as many pitches after going without a homer for eight games, they had to know it would be a good night.

Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur homered in the sixth inning to help the Braves end their longest streak without a homer in 24 years, and manager Bobby Cox tied Sparky Anderson for fourth place in career victories with a 4-1 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

The Braves went 72 innings without a homer until Jones hit a two-run drive over the center field wall following Chipper Jones' double high off the wall in center, just a few feet below where Andruw Jones hit it out. Francoeur followed with a drive into the left-field seats for his sixth homer, the same number as Andruw Jones.

"I took us eight or nine days to hit a homer, but it counted huge," Cox said.

The homer drought was the Braves' longest since a 13-game streak in 1983, but didn't hurt their record as they won their fourth in a row and fifth in six games.

"I didn't know that, but we've been winning, and that's the important thing," Cox said.

Once again, the Braves put together a big inning with two outs. They lead the majors with 92 runs with two outs.

"It seems every night we start it with two outs, and I don't know why," Francoeur said. "It's hard to explain, but it seems that when we get guys into scoring position with two outs, everybody tends to get locked in. And you want to ride it out."

Cox has a simpler answer: "When you have good hitters, it doesn't matter how many outs there are."

Two innings before the four-run sixth, Chipper Jones tumbled over third baseman Jose Bautista as Bautista fielded a grounder, causing Jones to land hard on both wrists, his left knee and thigh. Jones lay on third base for several minutes, in obvious discomfort, but stayed in the game to Cox's relief.

"I thought I was going to have to take him out when I went out there," Cox said.

The Pirates dropped their ninth in 13 games as Zach Duke (1-4) limited Atlanta to four hits and no runs until giving up about 1,200 feet worth of extra-base hits in a span of four pitches. After that, Brian McCann and Matt Diaz singled to chase Duke, and pinch-hitter Scott Thorman hit an RBI double off reliever Jonah Bayliss to make it 4-1.

"I thought I threw some pitches in decent spots," Duke said. "Chipper hit a changeup down and Andruw Jones hit a sinker. You don't see that very often."

He could have been referring to Cox's 2,194-1,698 record in 26 seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays. Cox got his 2,194th victory in his 3,895th game, counting three ties, while Anderson -- the former Reds and Tigers manager -- needed 4,030 games. The leader is Connie Mack (3,731), who managed for a record 53 seasons.

"I'm proud to be in his (Anderson's) class, I don't belong in it but I'll take it," Cox said.

Kyle Davies (1-1) limited the Pirates to one run and seven hits over seven innings, even though the Pirates stayed with the mixed-up batting order manager Jim Tracy used Thursday in beating the Cubs 6-4.

NL batting champion Freddy Sanchez led off again, Jason Bay hit third and Jack Wilson dropped to eighth, but the mixed-up order produced only a sacrifice fly in the fourth by former Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche. The Pirates sent reliever Mike Gonzalez to Atlanta for LaRoche during the offseason.

"My confidence is starting to get a little bit better and my pitching is a little bit better, and I think the two go hand in hand," said Davies, who hadn't won since beating Washington 6-1 on Sept. 18.

Tyler Yates followed Davies with a scoreless eighth, and Gonzalez pitched the ninth for his second save in as many opportunities, getting LaRoche to ground into a double play. Gonzalez hasn't allowed a run in his past 14 appearances.

"I had to tone it down emotion-wise," Gonzalez said. "It's very different, facing these guys."

Notes

  • Atlanta is a season-high 11 games over .500 (23-12).
  • Duke allowed as many runs in the sixth (four) as he did over 18 2/3 innings in his previous three starts.
  • Edgar Renteria extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a two-out single in the ninth. He sat out the previous two games with flu-like symptoms.
  • The Braves homered in 21 of their first 26 games.
  • Cox has a 110-80 record vs. Pittsburgh.
  • The Pirates have scored one or no runs in four of their past nine games.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Andruw Jones snaps the Braves' 72-inning stretch without a home run by blasting a shot in the sixth.  (AP)
Andruw Jones snaps the Braves' 72-inning stretch without a home run by blasting a shot in the sixth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Atlanta

A. Jones
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B5010020 .286
Edgar Renteria, SS5010020 .333
Chipper Jones, 3B5130002 .303
Andruw Jones, CF3112101 .236
Jeff Francoeur, RF4131000 .301
Brian McCann, C4120002 .295
Matt Diaz, LF4010002 .300
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Craig Wilson, 1B2000020 .172
   a- Scott Thorman, PH-1B2011011 .247
Kyle Davies, P3000022 .000
    Willie Harris, LF1000000 .400
Totals38413419  
a-doubled for C. Wilson in the 6th
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (9, Duke), Chipper Jones 2 (12, Duke, Duke), Scott Thorman (6, Bayliss)
HR - Andruw Jones (6, Duke), Jeff Francoeur (6, Duke)
RBI - Andruw Jones 2 (26), Jeff Francoeur (29), Scott Thorman (14)
2-OUT RBI - Andruw Jones 2 (12), Jeff Francoeur (21), Scott Thorman (9)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Davies-Johnson-Renteria-C. Wilson, Renteria-Johnson-C. Wilson, Renteria-Johnson-Thorman, Johnson-Renteria-Thorman
Atlanta Braves
Kyle Davies (W,1-1) 7711210 5.35
Tyler Yates (H,6) 1000120 4.32
Mike Gonzalez (S,2) 1000110 1.10
WP - Tyler Yates (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Davies 87-58, Tyler Yates 18-10, Mike Gonzalez 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Davies 7-10, Tyler Yates 1-0, Mike Gonzalez 1-0
Batters Faced - Kyle Davies 27, Tyler Yates 4, Mike Gonzalez 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4010000 .250
Jose Bautista, 3B4000011 .254
Jason Bay, LF2120200 .284
Ryan Doumit, RF4020012 .447
Xavier Nady, CF3010102 .258
Adam LaRoche, 1B2001103 .165
Ronny Paulino, C4010012 .215
Jack Wilson, SS3000002 .261
Zach Duke, P2000010 .143
    Jonah Bayliss, P0000000 .000
   a- Don Kelly, PH1000000 .158
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
Totals2917144  
a-flied out for Bayliss in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Doumit (8, Davies)
SF - Adam LaRoche (2)
RBI - Adam LaRoche (15)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - F. Sanchez-J. Wilson-LaRoche, F. Sanchez-J. Wilson-LaRoche
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (L,1-4) 5.2944142 5.61
Jonah Bayliss 1.1200030 5.68
John Grabow 2200020 3.52
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 103-67, Jonah Bayliss 27-18, John Grabow 34-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 9-2, Jonah Bayliss 1-0, John Grabow 1-3
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 25, Jonah Bayliss 6, John Grabow 8
Game Information
Attendance - 23376
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Derryl Cousins