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Atlanta at Pittsburgh

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Atlanta (79-60)000000000050
Pittsburgh (47-91) «00000050x580

Braves fall to Bucs, lose first place in NL East

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- After being in sole possession of the NL East lead every day for more than three months, they're now the second-place Atlanta Braves.

They don't like the sound of it at all.

James McDonald pitched seven innings, Ronny Cedeno's triple keyed a five-run seventh and the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates knocked the Braves out of first place, winning 5-0 Tuesday night for their second victory over Atlanta in as many days.

Postseason Chase

Philadelphia beat Florida 8-7 to take the lead that Atlanta had held every day since May 31.

It's easy to find a culprit -- the Braves have scored only 12 runs while losing five of six, a slump that followed a five-game winning streak. The Pirates had lost seven of nine and were on pace to lose 109 games before winning the first two games of the three-game series.

"Did we expect to be in first place until the end of the season? I mean, it would have been nice," Braves starter Tim Hudson said. "But we understand that Philly is a pretty good team. There's a lot of games left [six] with Philly."

Hudson (15-7), losing his second straight after winning six in a row, kept the Pirates hitless until the fifth and without a run through six. But the right-hander retired only one batter during the Pirates' breakthrough seventh inning, giving up four runs after pitching 28 consecutive innings against Pittsburgh without allowing an earned run.

"For a while, I didn't know if we were going to get a hit," Pirates manager John Russell said. "Hudson was really good, but we found a way."

Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez doubled in succession with one out for the game's first run. After Ryan Doumit was intentionally walked, Cedeno tripled off the right-field wall to make it 3-0.

Hudson left one batter later, and reliever Eric O'Flaherty gave up Delwyn Young's two-run homer into the left-field bleachers. Young's seventh homer was the Pirates' first by a pinch-hitter in 29 at-bats.

"I wasn't able to put up zeros when we needed it," Hudson said. "When it's a 0-0 game late, you start realizing that one or two runs could be the difference in the game."

A day after outfielder Matt Diaz said the Braves remain very confident, manager Bobby Cox said he senses no panic.

"No, they're not," Cox said when asked if his players are pressing. "You can say that all you want, but it's not. It's a case where we ran up against some pitchers we haven't hardly seen, and that's what happens sometimes. No, we're not pressing."

McDonald, the former Dodgers prospect, made the most effective of his seven starts with Pittsburgh and his first against Atlanta, limiting the Braves to five hits.

"You know who you're going against, and you know you've got to bring it when you're going against a guy like that [Hudson]," McDonald said. "I showed them a mix of pitches. They're a good-hitting team, [so] don't let them get comfortable with one thing, don't keep the pattern the same."

Joel Hanrahan closed it out in the ninth -- following a 43-minute rain delay -- for his second save in as many days, and his fifth in eight opportunities. Evan Meek pitched a scoreless eighth as the three pitchers combined for Pittsburgh's sixth shutout. Atlanta has been shut out 10 times.

"We've just got to get some runs," Cox said. "He [Hudson] pitched plenty good. We've got to get some runs."

The Braves twice looked like they might break through against McDonald, who gave up 14 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings while losing his last three starts.

They put two on with two outs in the fifth, but McDonald got Hudson to pop up.

An inning later, the Braves loaded the bases when Jason Heyward walked, Martin Prado doubled for only his second hit in 20 at-bats in PNC Park this season and Brian McCann was intentionally walked, but Derrek Lee grounded into a double play.

Lee, acquired from the Cubs to give the Braves a much-needed power bat down the stretch, has yet to homer and is batting .228 (13 for 57) in 17 games with Atlanta. Lee was hitless in four at-bats.

Notes

  • Braves RHP Derek Lowe, who starts Wednesday, is 9-0 against the Pirates -- the top unbeaten record by a current major league pitcher against any opponent.
  • Cox is the last NL manager or player to remain continuously with his club since the Pirates last had a winning season in 1992.
  • Pirates rookie Neil Walker doubled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games (24 for 61, .393).
 
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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James McDonald, who yields five hits through seven, baffles the Braves as the Pirates take two straight against Atlanta. (AP)
James McDonald, who yields five hits through seven, baffles the Braves as the Pirates take two straight against Atlanta. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

D. Young
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Pittsburgh

J. McDonald
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 3
K 3
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B3010100 .339
Jason Heyward, RF4020001 .285
Martin Prado, 3B4010012 .313
Brian McCann, C2000202 .279
Derrek Lee, 1B4000012 .248
Melky Cabrera, LF4010011 .260
Alex Gonzalez, SS3000001 .260
Rick Ankiel, CF2000120 .236
Tim Hudson, P2000012 .209
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
   a- Eric Hinske, PH1000000 .250
    Mike Dunn, P0000000 .000
Totals2905046  
a-grounded out for O'Flaherty in the 8th
Batting
2B - Martin Prado (36, McDonald), Melky Cabrera (26, McDonald)
CS - Omar Infante (5, 2nd base by McDonald/Snyder)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - A. Gonzalez-Infante-Lee
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Hudson (L,15-7) 6.1644140 2.41
Peter Moylan 0.1000010 3.15
Eric O'Flaherty 0.1111001 2.48
Mike Dunn 1100030 0.00
IBB - Doumit by Tim Hudson
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 92-58, Peter Moylan 4-3, Eric O'Flaherty 9-6, Mike Dunn 18-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 13-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 25, Peter Moylan 1, Eric O'Flaherty 2, Mike Dunn 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andrew McCutchen, CF4010000 .274
Jose Tabata, LF4000011 .306
Neil Walker, 2B4010010 .312
Garrett Jones, 1B4120021 .246
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4111012 .233
Ryan Doumit, RF2110100 .258
Ronny Cedeno, SS3112001 .249
Chris Snyder, C3000021 .213
James McDonald, P2000010 .000
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1112000 .244
    Evan Meek, P00000001.000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Totals3158518  
a-homered for McDonald in the 7th
Batting
2B - Andrew McCutchen (28, Hudson), Neil Walker (26, Dunn), Garrett Jones (27, Hudson), Pedro Alvarez (14, Hudson)
3B - Ronny Cedeno (2, Hudson)
HR - Delwyn Young (7, O'Flaherty)
RBI - Pedro Alvarez (41), Ronny Cedeno 2 (31), Delwyn Young 2 (28)
2-OUT RBI - Delwyn Young 2 (17)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jose Tabata 1
DP - Tabata-Walker, Alvarez-Walker-G. Jones
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James McDonald (W,3-5) 7500330 4.81
Evan Meek 1000000 2.05
Joel Hanrahan 1000130 3.56
IBB - Ankiel by James McDonald, by McCann
Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 107-65, Evan Meek 10-6, Joel Hanrahan 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 5-10, Evan Meek 3-0
Batters Faced - James McDonald 26, Evan Meek 3, Joel Hanrahan 4
Game Information
Attendance - 11070
Game Time - 2:24
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Marvin Hudson