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Atlanta Braves drop 10-8 decision to streaking Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves left fielder Kelly Johnson steals second base as Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker handles the late throw in the first inning of Friday's game in Atlanta. - photo by John Bazemore

ATLANTA — Neil Walker and Starling Marte homered, and the streaking Pittsburgh Pirates held off the Atlanta Braves 10-8 on Friday night.

Walker hit a three-run drive, a towering shot deep into the right-field seats off Williams Perez in the fifth inning. Marte’s two-run homer off Luis Avilan (2-1) gave the Pirates a 6-4 lead in the sixth.

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli drove in two runs with four hits, matching his career high.

The Pirates, coming off a three-game sweep at San Francisco, have won four straight and 12 of 14.

Charlie Morton (3-0) allowed four runs, three earned, in five innings.

Four Braves relievers combined to allow six runs. Atlanta’s bullpen has given up 13 runs in the last three games — all losses.

Pirates closer Mark Melancon gave up a one-out single to A.J. Pierzynski in the ninth before being hurt by his own throwing error. Melancon fielded Todd Cunningham’s grounder, but his wild throw to second base set up Pedro Ciriaco’s run-scoring single to left field.

Joey Terdoslavich, making his season debut after missing the first two months with a sprained left wrist, hit into a double play to end the game. Melancon earned his 17th save.

The Pirates scored three runs on five hits off Trevor Cahill in the eighth.

Cervelli led off the eighth with his third single and scored on Sean Rodriguez’s double-play grounder. Gregory Polanco singled, stole second and scored on Marte’s single, pushing the lead to 8-5. Andrew McCutchen added a run-scoring double.

Atlanta answered with two runs off Tony Watson in the eighth. Cameron Maybin’s single, his third hit, drove in Cunningham.

Pittsburgh added a run in the ninth on Cervelli’s run-scoring double off Nick Masset.

Perez, a rookie right-hander making his fourth start, threw 101 pitches in five innings. He allowed four runs on five hits and five walks and left with the game tied 4-all.

Pittsburgh took the lead against Avilan, who entered with two outs in the sixth. Following a single by Polanco, Marte lined a homer into the front row of the right-field seats for a 6-4 lead.

Polanco had two singles and a walk and stole two bases.


Before the game, Braves outfielder Eric Young Jr. was designated for assignment.

Young was hitting .169 with no homers, five RBIs and three stolen bases. He became a little-used backup after Cameron Maybin won the starting job in center field.


Pirates: 3B Josh Harrison was rested before entering the game in the eighth. Jung Ho Kang started at third base and Jordy Mercer was the shortstop.

Braves: 2B Jace Peterson has a bruised left thumb and isn’t expected to be available to hit before Sunday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Peterson has no structural damage and is available as a pinch-runner or late-inning defensive replacement. Ciriaco started for Peterson.


Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke, who faces the Braves on Saturday night, is 3-3 with a 5.34 ERA after winning his first two decisions. He is 1-1 with a 6.20 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta. He allowed six runs in four innings in a loss at Turner Field last year.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (4-2) will look for his third straight win against the Pirates. Teheran is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career games, including three starts, against Pittsburgh.

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