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Braves struggling without Jones

POSTED: June 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Yunel Escobar, left, is tagged out at first base by Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder after being caught off base on a Kelly Johnson line out in the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA The Milwaukee Brewers suddenly are winning consistently on the road.

That doesn’t mean they’re making it look easy.

Salomon Torres and the Brewers had to survive a scary ninth inning before beating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Dave Bush earned his first road victory of the season, scattering four hits over seven innings, but had to watch in the ninth as Torres almost blew a 4-1 lead and left the tying run on third base.

"It’s always harder to watch from the dugout," Bush said. "It was nerveracking."

The Brewers are 18-21 on the road with four straight wins, including two in a row over the Braves.

Mark Teixeira, who had three homers Sunday against Seattle, hit a two-run homer off Torres in the ninth. Brian McCann followed with a single, pinch-runner Jair Jurrjens took second on Omar Infante’s sacrifice bunt and moved to third on Jeff Francoeur’s groundout.

Torres issued an intentional walk to Brandon Jones before Corky Miller hit a soft liner to shortstop J.J. Hardy to end the game.

"The positive thing I can take from this is when things got tough, I was able to redirect my attention to keeping the ball down and letting them swing at it," Torres said.

"Even with (McCann’s) hit, I was back in control. I was able to settle down. ... After (Teixeira’s homer), I was able to be the Salomon you all know and love."

Bush (4-7) walked one and gave up one run for his first road victory since Aug. 21, 2007 at Arizona. He had been 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA in seven road appearances, including six starts, this season.

"Bush pitched well," Teixeira said. "He was mixing his fastball in and out of the strike zone, throwing a pretty good changeup and pretty good curveball. He kept us off balance."

Bush has given up a combined six hits and two runs in two straight wins.

"He is throwing better," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He’s throwing more strikes. ... He’s getting ahead in the count."

Torres earned his 13th save and is 12-for-12 since taking over as closer on May 24.

The Brewers (43-34) are a season-high nine games over .500.

The Braves committed a season-high four errors, including three in the first to allow two unearned runs.

"It was flat-out ugly," said Chipper Jones, who missed his fourth straight start with a strained right quadriceps but singled in the eighth as a pinch hitter. It was his second hit as a pinch hitter since aggravating the injury Friday night.

Rookie Charlie Morton (1-1), making his third start since he was called up from Triple-A Richmond on June 14, allowed seven hits and four runs, two earned, in six innings. Braves manager Bobby Cox said Morton started despite battling flulike symptoms.

"Too many errors. Morton deserved a lot better," Cox said. "We didn’t give up."

Milwaukee’s starting pitcher was in control for the second straight night.

Ben Sheets retired the last 16 Atlanta batters in beating the Braves 4-1 on Monday night. Bush retired the Braves’ first nine batters, stretching the streak to 25, before Gregor Blanco reached on a fielding error by first baseman Price Fielder in the fourth.

Blanco moved to second on Yunel Escobar’s single off Bush’s foot, but Kelly Johnson then lined out to Fielder, who doubled Escobar off first base. Escobar protested, threw his helmet and was thrown out of the game by first-base umpire Eric Cooper.

Escobar bobbled Rickie Weeks’ leadoff grounder for the first of three errors in the first inning.

Weeks moved to second on Hardy’s single and scored on Ryan Braun’s single to right. Hardy advanced to third when Francoeur mishandled the ball for the second error of the inning. Hardy scored on Corey Hart’s groundout for a 2-0 lead. Francoeur added a throwing error later in the inning after Russell Branyan singled to right.

The Brewers added another run off Morton in the second. Jason Kendall singled and scored with two outs on a double by Hardy.

Milwaukee pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fourth when Kendall walked, stole second, moved to third on Bush’s second sacrifice bunt of the game and scored on Weeks’ sacrifice fly.Notes: Mike Cameron was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. ... The Braves fell to 2-10 without Jones in the starting lineup. ... Jones pushed his batting average to .395, best in the major leagues, with the pinch-hit single. Cox hopes Jones will be the team’s designated hitter at Toronto in a series that begins Friday night.



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