|Pittsburgh (47-91) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||0||x||5||8||0|
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.
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."
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.
|James McDonald, who yields five hits through seven, baffles the Braves as the Pirates take two straight against Atlanta. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Omar Infante, 2B||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.339|
|Jason Heyward, RF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.285|
|Martin Prado, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.313|
|Brian McCann, C||2||0||0||0||2||0||2||.279|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.248|
|Melky Cabrera, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.260|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.260|
|Rick Ankiel, CF||2||0||0||0||1||2||0||.236|
|Tim Hudson, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.209|
|Peter Moylan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Eric Hinske, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Mike Dunn, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for O'Flaherty in the 8th|
|2B - Martin Prado (36, McDonald), Melky Cabrera (26, McDonald)|
|CS - Omar Infante (5, 2nd base by McDonald/Snyder)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - A. Gonzalez-Infante-Lee|
|Tim Hudson (L,15-7)||6.1||6||4||4||1||4||0||2.41|
|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|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.274|
|Jose Tabata, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.306|
|Neil Walker, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.312|
|Garrett Jones, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||2||1||.246|
|Pedro Alvarez, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.233|
|Ryan Doumit, RF||2||1||1||0||1||0||0||.258|
|Ronny Cedeno, SS||3||1||1||2||0||0||1||.249|
|Chris Snyder, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.213|
|James McDonald, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|a- Delwyn Young, PH||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||.244|
|Evan Meek, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|Joel Hanrahan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-homered for McDonald in the 7th|
|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|
|Outfield Assists - Jose Tabata 1|
|DP - Tabata-Walker, Alvarez-Walker-G. Jones|
|James McDonald (W,3-5)||7||5||0||0||3||3||0||4.81|
|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|
|Attendance - 11070|
|Game Time - 2:24|
|Temperature - 86|
|Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Marvin Hudson|