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Braves 5, Padres 4: Finally, a one-run win

POSTED: May 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Matt Diaz, right, celebrates with teammate Mark Teixeira (24) and Brian McCann, left, after hitting the game-winning RBI single Thursday in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres. Atlanta won 5-4.

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ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves waited until the last inning of a memorable homestand to put an end to a streak of one-run futility they hope to forget.

The Braves finally won a one-run game when Matt Diaz hit a bases-loaded single in the ninth inning to beat the San Diego Padres 5-4 Thursday.

Atlanta was the first team since the 2000 Houston Astros to lose its first nine one-run games. The Braves were the only team in the major leagues without a one-run victory.

Chipper Jones was grateful to see the streak end.

“Amen! Hallelujah!” Jones said.

The Braves completed a 6-0 homestand to improve to 14-4 at Turner Field. They have the best home winning percentage (.778) in baseball, but now return to the road, where they are only 4-11.

“It’s our first one-run win, which is nice and good for us,” Jeff Francoeur said. “Now we need to take this momentum on the road, where we haven’t exactly been sharp this year.”

Atlanta trailed 4-1 after five innings, had its first two pitchers leave with injuries and won with its only earned run of the game.

“We caught some breaks,” said Jones, who was 0-for-4 before contributing to the ninth-inning rally with a single. “We didn’t deserve to win today but we took advantage of some of their mistakes.”

The Padres, who lost their fourth straight, committed three errors that led to four unearned runs.

“I can’t remember playing a game when we allowed so many unearned runs,” manager Bud Black said. “We have played sure-handed ball. Today we let a couple balls get away.”

Yunel Escobar led off the ninth with a bunt single off Joe Thatcher (0-4). Jones followed with a single to left. After the runners advanced on Mark Teixeira’s groundout, Thatcher issued an intentional walk to Francoeur, loading the bases for Diaz.

Diaz, who didn’t have a hit in his first four at-bats, lined a 2-2 pitch to left to drive in Escobar for the one-run win.

“Now we got that monkey off our back and we can hopefully get the road monkey off our back,” Diaz said.

Manny Acosta (1-1) earned the win on the same day he lost a save awarded Wednesday night because of an official scorer’s error.

Braves starter Jo-Jo Reyes left in the third inning after starting to develop a blister on his left index finger.

Buddy Carlyle, who relieved Reyes, was knocked out of the game in the fifth after he injured his neck in a baseline collision with Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Reyes said a raw spot on his finger would have become a blister if he remained in the game. He said he doesn’t expect to miss a start. Carlyle said he should be available when the Braves open a four-game series at Pittsburgh on Friday.

Reyes gave up five hits and two runs in 2 2-3 innings.

The Padres scored two runs in the first. Brian Giles reached on first baseman Teixeira’s error and moved to second on Callix Crabbe’s walk. One out later, Kouzmanoff hit a two-run double that skipped past Mark Kotsay in center field.

In the fifth, Carlyle fielded Kouzmanoff’s weak grounder and made the tag about halfway down the first-base line as Kouzmanoff’s left thigh hit Carlyle’s head.

Carlyle held the ball up to the umpires before falling forward to the ground. Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell helped the woozy Carlyle to his feet and held the pitcher’s arm while escorting him off the field.

Carlyle gave up a double to one-out double to Adrian Gonzalez before facing Kouzmanoff. Gonzalez scored on Scott Hairston’s single off Jorge Campillo. Khalil Greene drove in Hairston with a double.

San Diego starter Wil Ledezma gave up one unearned run and two hits in four innings. Shawn Estes, recalled from Triple-A Portland, gave up two runs, both unearned, in 1 2-3 innings in his first major league appearance since April 5, 2006.

Estes missed the 2007 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

“It was exciting to get back out there,” Estes said. “A lot of adrenaline was flowing. It was fun, but it was bittersweet because of the results today.”

Pinch-hitter Greg Norton had a two-run single in the sixth and the Braves pulled even with their fourth unearned run in the seventh. Escobar reached on shortstop Greene’s two-base throwing error and scored on Heath Bell’s wild pitch.

Acosta was mistakenly awarded his third save for recording two outs in Atlanta’s 5-2 win over San Diego on Wednesday. The save was removed following a review by the commissioner’s office and the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball’s statistician.

To qualify for the save, Acosta would have had to start the inning with a three-run lead or enter the game with the potential tying run on base, at the plate or on deck. He came in with none on.

Notes: San Diego C Colt Morton’s second-inning single was his first major league hit. He was 0-for-12 in his first eight games this season and 0-for-1 in 2007. ... The Braves activated Omar Infante and placed C Brayan Pena on the 15-day disabled list with a back sprain. Infante started at second base and was the leadoff hitter. ... The Padres placed RHP Kevin Cameron on the 15-day DL with a right elbow sprain. ... The Braves’ last perfect homestand of two or more series was June 3-8, 2003, when they were 5-0 against Texas and Pittsburgh.



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