The Atlanta Braves bounced back nicely from a humiliating offensive performance.
They’ll try to keep the newfound momentum alive Wednesday as they wrap up a three-game series with Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
The Braves (43-48) managed just one hit against the Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda in Monday’s series opener, falling 3-0. It was merely the latest in a string of poor offensive showings for Atlanta, which has scored eight total runs over its last six losses.
However, the Braves’ lineup broke out on Tuesday, pounding out 12 hits in a 9-3 win. Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley held Atlanta hitless through the first four innings, extending its hitless streak to 13 innings, before the Braves plated three runs in the fifth.
“Their pitching staff was dominating us for 13 innings, so obviously we knew that we needed to try and come up with a couple of hits and try to put something together to get some momentum offensively,” said center fielder Mark Kotsay, who went 3-for-4.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, named to the NL All-Star game on Sunday, homered twice and combined with Mark Teixeira on back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning. Shortstop Yunel Escobar broke a scoreless tie with a three-run double in the fifth inning.
“Escobar had the big hit, obviously, and it kind of just started rolling from there,” McCann said. “If we can keep putting together at-bats like we did tonight, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
The Braves also got back right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who played his first game since returning from a three-game minor league stint in Double-A Mississippi. He had a single in five at-bats and threw out a base runner in the third inning.
The Dodgers (44-46) lost for only the second time in eight games, and fell a game behind Arizona for the NL West lead.
Former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, acquired by Los Angeles as a free agent in the offseason, went 2-for-4 and is 4-for-14 this season against his former club.
Los Angeles will give the ball to Derek Lowe (6-8, 4.02 ERA) in the series finale.
The right-handed sinkerballer gave up five runs in five innings of Friday’s 10-7 win in San Francisco. He got credit for the win thanks in large part to eight runs of support.
“I wouldn’t say it was one of the prettiest wins, but you get into the second half and any win will do,” Lowe, who’s received five total runs of support in his previous four starts, told the Dodgers’ official Web site.
Lowe lasted just 4 1-3 innings at Atlanta on April 18, allowing five runs in a 6-1 loss.
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who leads the majors with a .379 batting average but is just 3-for-16 in his last four games, is 9-for-24 (.375) with three homers lifetime against Lowe.
Atlanta starter Tim Hudson (9-6, 3.19) gave up one run in seven innings of Friday’s 6-2 win over Houston. He bounced back nicely after yielding up six runs in Toronto six days earlier.
The right-hander is 5-1 with a 4.07 ERA in nine career starts against Los Angeles.