Atlanta at Pittsburgh

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Atlanta (24-12) «0321001029140
Pittsburgh (15-20)000000020253

Atlanta's James takes no-hit bid into seventh vs. Pittsburgh

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

PITTSBURGH -- Braves manager Bobby Cox felt his stomach churning for the first time all season, and it had nothing to do with the place in the record book he was about to fill. His nervousness came from a pitcher who has labored all season, only to find himself taking a no-hitter deep into the game.

Atlanta's Chuck James held the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates hitless until Jason Bay singled in the seventh, and Scott Thorman homered twice in leading the Braves to a 9-2 victory Saturday night that extended their winning streak to five.

James (4-3), who has never thrown complete game in 26 major league starts, allowed one hit in seven innings to give Cox his 2,195th managerial victory -- the fourth most in major league history. Cox surpassed Sparky Anderson on the career wins list and trails only Connie Mack, John McGraw and Tony La Russa.

A night after Cox called tying Anderson "another stat," he wasn't asked about the accomplishment during his postgame news conference. His players remembered.

"He downplays everything, but for him that's awesome," Jeff Francoeur said. "We couldn't be more excited, you couldn't get it for a better guy. Look at the guys he's passed, Sparky Anderson - it's hard sometimes to realize because he's your manager, but they're going to talk about him for a long time. There's no doubt he's a Hall of Fame manager."

Cox was more interested in talking about James, who was averaging five innings per start and hadn't lasted longer than six innings in seven starts. He was coming off a season-low 3 2/3 innings during a loss to San Diego.

"He was popping strikes all night long. He had a changeup. He had it all going," Cox said. "Everybody was pulling for him. My stomach got nauseous for the first time all year. It did, it really did."

Not to worry against an offense like Pittsburgh's, the NL's least-productive except for Washington.

"I've been struggling a little bit and trying to get back to where I feel comfortable, and I've been putting a little extra stress on myself," James said. "I've kind of built me up a wall in the sixth inning and couldn't quite get through it. Today was a good confidence booster."

Not for the Pirates. Limited to three runs or fewer in 19 of 35 games, they held a pregame meeting to address hitting problems, then didn't have anything resembling a hit until Bay lined a single into left field on a 1-0 pitch with one out in the seventh. The Pirates didn't have a baserunner until James walked Jose Bautista and Jack Wilson in succession starting the sixth.

"We talked before we went out there about not being overly aggressive and letting guys nibble on us and getting ourselves out. Then we went out there with a game plan and he went right after us," Bay said. "We've got to take it upon ourselves to make it personal and go out there and turn it around."

Even without Chipper Jones, sitting out following a Friday night collision with Bautista that injured Jones' wrists and left quadriceps, the Braves had way too much offense for a struggling Pirates team that has lost 10 of 14 and fallen 9½ games out of the NL Central lead.

Tony Armas (0-3) failed to win for the sixth start in a row, giving up five runs -- four earned -- in two-plus innings.

Thorman's first homer, a three-run drive, followed Brian McCann's walk and Francoeur's single to make it 3-0 in the second. McCann added an RBI single during a two-run third aided by second baseman Freddy Sanchez's error for dropping the relay throw on an apparent double play grounder.

"We're starting to break loose pretty good," Cox said.

Thorman drove in five runs, adding a two-run homer -- his fifth of the season -- against Jonah Bayliss in the ninth. The two-homer game was the first of his career.

James had won only one of his previous five starts, and that was an unimpressive 9-7 decision against Colorado on April 27. Still, this wasn't the best start of his career - he limited the Mets to one hit over eight innings last season in a 5-0 decision on Sept. 4.

Notes

  • The Pirates are 5-10 at home.
  • The five-game winning streak is Atlanta's longest this season. The Braves lead the Mets by 1½ games in the NL East.
  • Braves SS Edgar Renteria ran his hitting streak to 18 games (29-for-83, .349) with a single in the third.
  • James, 11-4 last season, faced the Pirates for the first time.
  • The Pirates have lost six of eight.
  • Pirates 1B Adam LaRoche, formerly with the Braves, grounded into a double play for the second time in as many at-bats in two games, as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
  • Cox has a 2,195-1,698 record in 26 seasons with the Braves and Toronto Blue Jays.
 
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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Chuck James flirts with a no-no until the seventh inning and the Braves cruise to their fifth straight win.  (AP)
Chuck James flirts with a no-no until the seventh inning and the Braves cruise to their fifth straight win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Wilson
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
Atlanta

S. Thorman
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 5
 

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Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B5110011 .282
Willie Harris, LF5141000 .467
Edgar Renteria, SS5110014 .329
Andruw Jones, CF4111121 .236
Brian McCann, C4111103 .294
Jeff Francoeur, RF5231002 .312
Scott Thorman, 1B5225013 .256
Pete Orr, 3B5010012 .222
Chuck James, P3000001 .000
   a- Matt Diaz, PH1000000 .296
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
Totals42914926  
a-grounded out for James in the 8th
Batting
2B - Willie Harris 2 (3, Armas, McLeary), Andruw Jones (11, Chacon), Pete Orr (1, Armas)
HR - Scott Thorman 2 (5, Armas, Bayliss)
RBI - Willie Harris (3), Andruw Jones (27), Brian McCann (17), Jeff Francoeur (30), Scott Thorman 5 (19)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur (22), Scott Thorman 2 (11)
CS - Willie Harris (1, 2nd base by Armas/Doumit)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Orr-Johnson-Thorman, Johnson-Renteria-Thorman
Atlanta Braves
Chuck James (W,4-3) 7100330 4.04
Chad Paronto 0.1422000 5.23
Peter Moylan 1.2000020 2.25
Pitches-Strikes - Chuck James 99-63, Chad Paronto 13-9, Peter Moylan 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chuck James 5-12, Peter Moylan 2-0
Batters Faced - Chuck James 24, Chad Paronto 5, Peter Moylan 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Duffy, CF3001011 .224
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4010000 .250
Jason Bay, LF3010000 .285
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
   a- Adam LaRoche, PH1000001 .164
    Jonah Bayliss, P0000000 .000
Xavier Nady, RF4000011 .247
Ryan Doumit, C3000110 .420
Brad Eldred, 1B4000022 .122
Jose Bautista, 3B2110100 .258
Jack Wilson, SS2111100 .264
Tony Armas, P0000000 .286
    Marty McLeary, P1000000 .000
   b- Jose Castillo, PH1000001 .182
    Shawn Chacon, P0000000 .000
    Nate McLouth, LF1010000 .250
Totals2925235  
a-grounded into a double play for Marte in the 8th
b-grounded into a double play for McLeary in the 6th
Batting
2B - Jack Wilson (10, Paronto)
SF - Chris Duffy (1)
RBI - Chris Duffy (9), Jack Wilson (8)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Jose Bautista (1, Throwing), Jason Bay (2, Misplayed grounder), Freddy Sanchez (3, Missed catch of throw)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Tony Armas (L,0-3) 2754121 8.76
Marty McLeary 4210120 5.68
Shawn Chacon 1211000 3.38
Damaso Marte 1100010 0.73
Jonah Bayliss 1222011 6.30
Pitches-Strikes - Tony Armas 41-26, Marty McLeary 43-31, Shawn Chacon 9-8, Damaso Marte 14-11, Jonah Bayliss 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tony Armas 2-2, Marty McLeary 3-7, Shawn Chacon 2-1, Damaso Marte 2-1, Jonah Bayliss 1-1
Batters Faced - Tony Armas 14, Marty McLeary 15, Shawn Chacon 5, Damaso Marte 5, Jonah Bayliss 5
Game Information
Attendance - 34775
Game Time - 2:19
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Kerwin Danley