ATLANTA (AP)—Jason Davis rooted for the Braves while growing up in Chattanooga, Tenn.—about two hours from Atlanta.
In the Cleveland Indians media guide, Davis listed the Braves as his favorite team as a kid. Now, he has a new favorite memory in the Braves’ home park.
Davis threw seven solid innings to win for the first time in almost seven weeks and also hit his first major league home run, leading the Indians over the slumping Braves 5-2 on Sunday.
Davis, who lives in Cleveland, Tenn., in the offseason, said there are still a lot of Braves fans in his hometown who were closely watching the game.
“I had almost 100 people here, so I didn’t want to strike out,” Davis said. “I didn’t want them to have anything on me when I go back home.”
Davis said his late grandfather “was the biggest Braves fan ever,” so he planned to give the ball he hit for his first home run to his grandmother.
While Davis celebrated his day to remember, the reeling Braves suffered a day like far too many in recent weeks.
The Braves have lost eight of 12 games and four straight series, including four straight against American League opponents. With Sunday’s loss, they again matched their low point of the season at four games below .500.
“We’re capable of hitting a lot better than this team is hitting right now,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “Five and four hits a game aren’t going to cut it.”
Davis (2-5) gave up four hits and two runs in seven innings while winning for the first time since May 4.
Before Sunday, he had only two wins in his last 25 starts since July 1, 2002. Against the Braves, however, Davis was dominant while retiring the side in order in three of the first four innings.
For most of the game, however, the 6-foot-6 Davis looked even bigger as he kept the Braves guessing.
“You see a guy 6-foot-8, you read the scouting report that says he throws 95 miles an hour, you’ve got to respect 95 miles an hour,” Jones said. “He came out and threw a lot of splitters. … We just didn’t do a good enough job of laying off the off-speed stuff to get him into hitters’ counts.”
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said Davis has a tendency to overthrow but “had command of his body” against the Braves.
“He’s come a long way,” Wedge said.
Jose Jimenez pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in 10 chances.
Coco Crisp reached base in his first four plate appearances for the Indians, going 3-for-4 with a walk, three stolen bases and three runs scored.
“I’m battling for a job,” said Crisp, who has seen more consistent playing time in center field since Alex Escobar was demoted to Buffalo on June 12.
“I wanted to get in there and show them what I could do in the limited time I had,” Crisp said.
Crisp is hitting .370 (20 of 54) in June and has a nine-game hitting streak.
Davis had been hitless in four career at-bats before drilling a first-pitch fastball from Russ Ortiz (6-6) over the left-field wall in his first at-bat in the second inning.
“I think it was a mistake; it was a little up,” Davis said. “I had to act like a professional, like I had done it before.”
Davis’ homer in the second made it 3-0. The Indians got another run in the third when Crisp doubled to left and scored on a single by Travis Hafner.
Before the sixth-inning homers by Drew and Jones, Eli Marrero had the Braves’ only two hits—singles in the third and fifth innings.
Facing the Indians for the first time in his career, Ortiz gave up nine hits and five runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Ortiz was pulled after giving up a one-out single to Crisp in the seventh. After Crisp stole second base, Cox ordered an intentional walk to Martinez for the second time in the game. Blake followed with an RBI single to center for a 5-2 lead.
Ortiz, 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in May, is 0-2 with a 5.33 ERA in four Junestarts.
Davis’ homer was the first for a Cleveland pitcher since Dwight Gooden’s against Cincinnati on June 11, 1999. … Cleveland’s Matt Lawton had his 16-game hitting streak snapped. … While attempting to field a slow grounder hit by Crisp that dribbled down the first-base line in the third, Braves first baseman Julio Franco was accidentally spiked by Ortiz when the pitcher stepped on his foot. Franco stayed in the game. … With his three stolen bases, Crisp pushed his season total to 10. … The Braves have hit back-to-back homers three times this year, and Drew has hit one of the two eachtime.