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Braves 6, Diamondbacks 4: Morton dazzles Arizona

POSTED: August 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

PHOENIX — Mark Kotsay homered and Charlie Morton threw seven shutout innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Thursday night.

Yunel Escobar was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Gregor Blanco and Brian McCann each were 2-for-4 with an RBI and Casey Kotchman also drove in a run for the Braves, who won for just the fourth time in 13 games.

Morton (3-5) allowed five hits over seven innings for his first victory since July 12. Morton walked one and struck out four.

Mike Gonzalez went 1À innings for his fifth save.

Mark Reynolds homered and Arizona starter Yusmeiro Petit (1-3) allowed two runs on four hits and struck out six for the Diamondbacks, who have lost two straight and saw their lead in the NL West slip to 1« games.

Blanco gave the Braves a 1-0 lead in the first when he singled, went to second on a balk, moved to third on Escobar’s infield single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kotchman. Kotsay made it 2-0 in the fifth with a line drive just over the right-field fence for his fifth home run and first since May 20.

Morton was the only other Braves’ baserunner against Petit, reaching on a third-inning double into the left-field corner.

Atlanta added four runs in the eighth on a single by Jeff Francouer, a walk to pinch-hitter Greg Norton, consecutive doubles by Blanco and Escobar and Brian McCann’s two-out single to take a 6-0 lead.

The Diamondbacks rallied in the eighth inning, scoring four runs off Blaine Boyer on Chad Tracy’s RBI single to center and Reynolds’ team-leading 24th home run.Notes: The Braves won a series opener for the first time since July 25.

... Tracy turned an unassisted double play in the seventh when he caught Kelly Johnson’s line drive and tagged McCann on the heel as he went back to first. ... Morton’s double was his first career hit. He was picked off second base by Diamondbacks C Miguel Montero for his first career caught stealing. ... Arizona RF Justin Upton took early batting practice Thursday, his first on-field hitting since straining his left oblique muscle on July 9. Arizona manager Bob Melvin said Upton could begin a minor league rehab assignment as early as Monday. "After the first few swings today, it looked like his normal swing and he was driving the ball out of the ballpark," Melvin said. ... Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones may come off the disabled list on Friday but likely won’t return immediately to the Braves’ starting lineup. "We’ll see what happens," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "I don’t know if he’ll be able to play right away. He might have to pinch-hit for a few games." Jones leads the majors with a .369 batting average.



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