The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

April 18, 2013

Eighth-inning home run lifts Braves past Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Pinch-hitter Evan Gattis connected for a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 on Thursday night.

Atlanta brothers B.J. and Justin Upton homered in the same game for the second time this season as the Braves continued their torrid play. Atlanta improved to a major league-best 13-2 after Gattis hit a sinker from Jared Hughes (1-1) into the left-field bleachers for the first pinch-hit homer of his career.

Anthony Varvaro (1-0) won in relief of starter Julio Teheran. Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez each hit their first homer of the year, but the Pirates couldn’t climb above .500. Travis Snider added two doubles and Garrett Jones drove in two runs.

The Uptons homered in the ninth inning of a 6-5 comeback win over the Cubs on April 6. This time, they didn’t wait so long to get started. B.J. Upton led off the game with a shot to left and Justin added a solo drive of his own in the fifth for his ninth of the season, most in the majors.

Their power kept the Braves in it following another subpar start from Teheran.

Atlanta pitchers came in with a 1.77 ERA – easily the best in baseball – but Teheran continued to be the one member of the starting staff still searching for solid footing. The 22-year-old struggled with his command in five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.

Teheran had been lights out against right-handed batters but surrendered Martin’s first homer with the Pirates leading off the second. Alvarez – in the midst of a 4 for 45 (.089) slump to begin the season – drilled a 91 mph slider to the batter’s eye leading off the fourth.

While Teheran is a permanent part of Atlanta’s future, Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke’s job security is more tenuous. He won a starting spot almost by default after injuries to Jeff Karstens and Francisco Liriano gave the Pirates a major hole at the back end of the rotation.

Locke’s first two starts were adequate and manager Clint Hurdle said there is a “window” for Locke to convince the Pirates to keep him around even after Liriano and Karstens return. The 25-year-old Locke struggled keeping the Uptons – and their teammates – in check, giving up four runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 42/3 innings.

Both starters left the game with a 4-all tie before the Braves broke through against Hughes.

Andrelton Simmons led off the eighth with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before Gattis entered as a pinch-hitter. Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Searage came out to chat with Hughes, but three pitches later Gattis turned on a 92 mph sinker and drilled it down the left-field line to put the Braves in front to stay.

Atlanta is unbeaten when it scores. The Braves’ only losses have come by shutout, including a 1-0 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday that ended a 10-game winning streak.

The Braves picked right back up at the start of a 10-game road trip, trading shots with the Pirates through five before breaking away late.

Notes: Liriano will make a start for Double-A Altoona on Saturday. The left-hander is expected to throw four innings or 65 pitches. Liriano is recovering from a broken right arm and could be called up to Pittsburgh within the next two weeks. ... Atlanta will monitor the health of left-handed reliever Luis Avilan, who left Tuesday night’s game against Kansas City with a severe cramp in his left hamstring. Avilan will be placed on the disabled list if the leg doesn’t improve by Sunday. ... The series continues today.  Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.50 ERA) faces Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez (1-0, 1.00).

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Steelers Patriots Front.JPG Gronkowski cleared to play at Patriots training camp

    Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play at the New England Patriots training camp.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dodgers Pirates Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Polanco, hitting just .133 in his previous 11 games, smacked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads