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Braves fall short of sweep

POSTED: June 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Casey Kotchman homered, Joe Saunders pitched seven scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Angels avoided a sweep with a 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night.

Saunders held the Braves to just six hits and Kotchman drove in both runs with his home run for Los Angeles, which won despite scoring four runs or fewer for the 14th straight game.

The Braves came to Anaheim for their first-ever visit with a 7-24 road record, worst in baseball. They won the first two games by a combined score of 14-7.

With the Angles struggling to score runs, the team needed a strong bounce-back effort from Saunders, who gave up eight earned runs in 4Ã innings in his last start, a 13-4 loss to Tampa Bay on June 9.

Saunders (10-3) worked out of jams in the first and sixth innings before giving way to Scot Shields with one out in the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez closed out the ninth for his 28th save of the season, tops in the majors.

After giving up leadoff singles to Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson in the first, Saunders struck out Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira hit into a double play ending the early threat.

Saunders then retired 13 of the next 15 Atlanta batters before the Braves threatened again with two runners in scoring position in the sixth inning. Saunders got Jeff Francoeur to fly out to left field to end the inning.

Braves starter Jorge Campillo (2-1) was equally sharp. He yielded a leadoff single to Chone Figgins in the first, but retired the next 12 Angles batters before Vladimir Guerrero doubled to lead off the fifth, extending a season-best hitting streak to seven games.

Later in the inning, Kotchman launched his first home run since April 23 to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Braves left-fielder Brandon Jones went 6-for-11 in the series after being recalled from Triple-A Richmond on Wednesday.Notes: The Braves will play a single game in Colorado today, making-up an April 10 game that was postponed due to snow. ... Angels infielder Erick Aybar played five innings and went 1-for-3 at the plate Sunday in his first rehab appearance with the team’s Single A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga. ... The Angels had not been swept in a three games series at home since Kansas City did so June 25-27 last season. ... Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is 2-for-15 at the plate in four games since returning to the lineup Wednesday after suffering a small tear in his right quadriceps muscle. He missed the series opener against the Angles Friday after being hit during batting practice and went 0-for-7 in the final two games of the series. His major league-leading average fell to .402. ... Angels shortstop Maicer Iztruris was 0-3 Sunday, ending a 13-game hitting streak.



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