Braves 2, Pirates 1
ATLANTA (AP)—Another win and yet another rookie stepped up for the Atlanta Braves.
This time it was left-handed reliever Macay McBride, who earned his first career save by getting out of a jam in the ninth inning.
Chipper Jones drove in both Atlanta runs with a two-run single in the seventh and Horacio Ramirez allowed six hits over eight innings to help the Braves win their fourth straight, 2-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
“He was amazing,” Ramirez said. “The most impressive thing was that he remained cool. He’s been up here what, 10 days, (since July 21) and you’d never know it. He did the job.”
McBride was one of nine rookies on Atlanta’s roster Friday night. The Braves have had as many as 10 at one time and all have contributed.
Atlanta, coming off a three-game sweep of Washington, increased its NL East lead to four games by winning their fourth straight one-run game. The Nationals lost 4-3 to Florida on Friday night.
“You’re always concerned about a letdown, but we’ve been playing good and having fun,” Jones said. “We had chances but couldn’t get the big hit. Finally, we got it in the seventh. I swung the bat good tonight and came up with the big hit.”
Trailing 1-0 entering the seventh, the Braves rallied off Pittsburgh starter Dave Williams (8-8) when Rafael Furcal led off with a single and took third on a double by Marcus Giles. Jones followed with the single to left that easily scored both runners.
The multi-RBI game was the first for Jones since he came off the DL on July 18.
“I’ve been struggling just trying to get my timing back,” said Jones, who is playing on a foot that is still sore.
Ramirez (9-6) walked one and struck out three. The Braves used four pitchers in the ninth.
Jay Powell started the ninth but his second pitch sailed 15 high and wide of the plate and he fell to the ground, holding his right elbow and writhing in pain. X-rays showed a severe elbow injury, Braves officials said.
Powell underwent transplant surgery on the elbow on July 8, 2004.
“He was in tremendous pain,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “He could barely walk the pain in his elbow was so severe. It’s sort of a bittersweet win tonight.”
John Foster came on with a 1-1 count and walked pinch-hitter Rob Mackowiak. Jim Brower relieved and gave up a double to Jason Bay that sent Mackowiak to third. Brower then struck out Bradley Eldred and walked Jose Castillo intentionally to load the bases.
That brought on McBride for his fourth appearance and he got the job done.
“My heart was racing, but when I got to the mound, it’s a familiar place and you just have to pitch,” he said. “I’m not saying I didn’t have butterflies. I’ve had them in high school, `A’ ball and here. My feeling is if you don’t have them, you might as well hang them up.
“It’s just nervous energy. I’m excited to be out there. The bases loaded is a challenge and this time it worked out,” he said.
Pittsburgh scored in the sixth when Jack Wilson led off with a single, took second on a sacrifice by Williams, moved to third on a single by Matt Lawson and came across on a sacrifice fly by Freddy Sanchez.
It was Pittsburgh’s third straight loss after winning three in a row.
“We had opportunities to win. We just didn’t come through. They executed. We didn’t,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Williams allowed eight hits and two runs, walked five and struck out three in six innings. He left in the seventh after the three straight hits.
“I tried to get us through the seventh and didn’t,” he said. “I thought I was in control of the game, but I got burned in the seventh.”
After the game, the Braves placed Powell on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Roman Colon from Triple-A Richmond. Kyle Davies, who will start Saturday, was also recalled from Richmond and C Brayan Pena was optioned to Richmond. … Williams’ left index finger was hit when he fouled off a bunt attempt in the sixth. He did successfully sacrifice, then had the finger wrapped in the dugout. He retired the Braves in the bottom of the inning without any problem. Williams said his finger was fine. “It didn’t have anything to do with me being up in the zone (his last inning).” … Williams got away with a mental mistake in the third. With two outs, Chipper Jones singled and stole second on the first pitch to Andruw Jones when Williams wound up instead of pitching from the stretch. Andruw Jones was then intentionally walked and Julio Franco drew a walk, loading the bases. Williams, however, struck out Jeff Francoeur to escape the jam. … Franco needs just one hit to become the 80th major leaguer with 2,500. … Braves RHP John Thompson, on the DL since May 17 with a strained flexor tendon in his right middle finger, threw four scoreless innings Friday night at Single-A Rome in his second rehab appearance.