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Braves 5, A's 2: Reyes, Atlanta frustrate Oakland

POSTED: May 29, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Yunel Escobar watches his two-run single as he heads for first base during the second inning against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday at Turner Field in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Jo-Jo Reyes, fighting a blister on his left index finger and an overall case of the blahs, felt miserable before managing to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the second inning.

"That pumped me up a little bit," Reyes said, after he and four Atlanta relievers played a successful game of damage control, leading the Braves to a 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

The A’s had at least one baserunner in every inning but left runners stranded at third base in the second, sixth, seventh and eighth. The A’s were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, leaving them 4-for-40 in their last six games of a nine-game road trip.

"We should be embarrassed to go 2-7 on this road trip," said Oakland’s Mike Sweeney. "We’re a better team than that."

Yunel Escobar had three hits, including a two-run single in the second that gave Atlanta the lead, and Omar Infante added a two-run triple in the eighth.

The Braves won two of three in their first interleague series of the season, as the A’s couldn’t take advantage of ample scoring chances.

"We just didn’t get it done," said Bobby Crosby, whose first-inning homer gave Oakland a 1-0 lead. "We had lots of opportunities but couldn’t capitalize. ... I expect we’ll be fine. Right now we’re struggling a little bit. Maybe we’re pressing a little bit."

Atlanta reliever Blaine Boyer pitched out of a final jam in the eighth after Rob Bowen hit a one-out triple past the reach of a diving Mark Teixeira at first base.

Boyer struck out Gregorio Petit, who was 2-for-3 in his major league debut, and pinch-hitter Daric Barton.

Reyes (2-1) gave up eight hits with two walks but only two runs in five innings.

He said the blister on his left index finger bothered him after the first inning, and he said that wasn’t his only problem.

"I felt like everything was going in slow motion today," Reyes said. "I felt like I didn’t have anything on my fastball. I didn’t feel comfortable in the bullpen.

"I didn’t want to come out. It got worse in that last inning but I didn’t want to pull myself out of the game. It was real sore today."

Reyes first had problems with the blister on May 8, when he lasted only 2 2-3 innings of a win over San Diego. He then gave up five runs in a loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Justin Duchscherer (3-3) gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings for the A’s.

Reyes was boosted by his second-inning escape from the bases-loaded jam. Reyes struck out Duchscherer and Rajai Davis and ended the inning on Crosby’s grounder to Teixeira at first base.

"It was awesome," Reyes said.

The A’s knocked Reyes out of the game when Emil Brown led off the sixth with a single and scored on Jack Hannahan’s double to center.

But the A’s left runners on second and third in the sixth when reliever Jeff Bennett struck out pinch-hitter Daric Barton and ended the inning on Sweeney’s grounder to third baseman Chipper Jones.

"You can’t let a team like the Atlanta Braves off the hook like that," Sweeney said. "We had opportunities to blow the game open. We didn’t get it done. ... We don’t deserve to win that game."

Manny Acosta recorded the final two outs in a non-save situation after Will Ohman struck out Sweeney to open the ninth.

After Crosby’s homer, the Braves pulled even in the bottom of the first. Brian McCann, who hit his first career homer off Duchscherer in 2005, drove in Escobar with a double to right.

Escobar’s two-run single in the second gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead. Escobar, who was thrown out at second, drove in Kelly Johnson and Gregor Blanco, who opened the inning with singles.

The Braves led only 3-2 before adding two runs in the eighth off Alan Embree. Jones led off with a single and moved to third on Mark Teixeira’s double to left. With two outs, Infante’s pinch-hit triple to right drove in Jones and Teixeira.

"We had as many hits (11) as they did," said A’s manager Bob Geren. "We just couldn’t get the big two-out hit. (Infante) got the big two-out hit."

Petit had two hits and a walk in his major league debut. He had a fourth-inning single for his first hit. One out later, he was picked off first base by McCann.

Petit, who was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, added a sixth-inning double off Jeff Bennett.Notes: The Braves are 7-0 in home day games. ... Frank Thomas, a native of Columbus, made a rare appearance in his home state, striking out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. ... Petit started for Mark Ellis (hamstring strain), who ran and took indoor batting practice but missed his sixth straight game. Geren said Ellis is "very close" to being able to play.



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