Braves 5, Dodgers 2
“We gained a game. That’s good,” manager Bobby Cox said of the Braves cutting the first-place New York Mets’ lead in the NL East to three games. “Chuckie pitched OK. (Yunel) Escobar had another great night. You can’t talk about the game without talking about him.”
Escobar went 3-for-5 with a sacrifice fly.
James (8-7) allowed one run and four hits in five innings, struck out three and walked two in the left-hander’s first appearance against the Dodgers this season.
“I’ll take it without a doubt,” he said. “I didn’t have a good feel for my changeup. All I had was a fastball. They hit the ball hard and they hit it right at people. I got out of it without much damage.”
The Dodgers’ lack of offense helped end their three-game winning streak. They were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The loss dropped Los Angeles into second place in the NL West, one game behind San Diego.
“We had some opportunities in the game starting in about the second inning that we didn’t capitalize on and that’s the difference,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
Andruw Jones’ 14th homer on a 1-2 pitch from Chin-hui Tsao extended Atlanta’s lead to 5-2 in the seventh.
Chipper Jones’ two-out single to center drove in Atlanta’s first two runs in the fifth off Mark Hendrickson (2-4), who gave up two runs and seven hits in five innings in returning to the rotation. The left-hander struck out four and walked none in losing his fourth consecutive start and first since May 31.
“We feel like he went as far as he could there with the pitches he was allowed and got a couple breaks,” Little said. “Maybe he could have gone to the sixth. He was outstanding. He gave us everything we could have asked for.”
Hendrickson has received the worst run support of any pitcher in baseball with a minimum of 163 innings since the start of 2006, getting just 3.24 runs.
“I felt like I could have kept going, but I think that not having thrown that many pitches in a while, the key is probably not the actual game, but the recovery time and what could happen a couple of days down the road,” he said. “I felt comfortable and confident out there. There’s just a couple of pitches that I’d like to take back. But unfortunately, I can’t and I’ve got to learn from them.”
The Dodgers trailed 2-1 in the fifth after Juan Pierre’s RBI double in the left field corner with two outs.
The Braves led 4-1 in the sixth on McCann’s RBI single off Brett Tomko and Escobar’s sacrifice fly to center.
Tomko’s struggles continued. He gave up two runs on three hits in one-third of an inning, walked one and struck out one.
“He’s got good stuff, he just mislocates on some pitches at the wrong time,” Little said. “He wasn’t really beat up out there. We feel like he’s going to get it going and it could be starting the next time out.”
Andruw Jones’ homer was his 1,000th run scored, the fifth player in franchise history to reach that mark. … The Dodgers fell to 85-81-2 on the Fourth of July, including 25-25 since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. … Dodgers All-Star starting catcher Russell Martin went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, snapping his career-high 12-game hitting streak. … The Braves improved to 17-22 against left-handed starters this season. … Los Angeles dropped to 15-7 against southpaws.