ATLANTA — David Ross made the most of a rare start Sunday.
Ross hit a two-run homer and Derek Lowe pitched into the sixth inning before leaving with an injury, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 6-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
The Braves have All-Star catcher Brian McCann, so Ross doesn’t play much. But he is hitting .284 with 20 RBIs in 37 games, 24 starts, this season. He also walked and scored Atlanta’s final run on Melky Cabrera’s single in the eighth.
“I finally ran into one,” Ross said of his first homer of the season, a drive to left during Atlanta’s three-run second. “Guys were giving me a (hard time) so I got that off my chest, finally. I thought I was getting too old, that I didn’t have any pop anymore.”
Lowe (11-9) was bothered by cramping in his hamstring. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Lowe said he also had some cramps in his right arm in the fourth inning but he would not miss his next start.
“The whole right leg was cramping,” he said.
Four relievers combined to finish up, with Takashi Saito tossing a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.
Omar Infante hit a solo homer for Atlanta, which won three of four in the series and has won four of five overall. The NL East-leading Braves also improved their major league-best home record to 39-15 and maintained a two-game lead over Philadelphia, which beat the New York Mets 6-5.
Jonathan Sanchez (8-7) pitched four innings for the Giants, yielding four runs and five hits. The left-hander was coming off a strong performance against Colorado, when he threw six effective innings in a 10-0 victory.
The full-count pitch to Ross “was a sinker away,” Sanchez said. “He killed it. That’s baseball. You can’t expect to win all the games.”
Infante made it 4-1 with a drive to left in the fourth for his third homer.
Alex Gonzalez also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Melky Cabrera had an RBI single for Atlanta, which finished with 12 hits. Cabrera went 3 for 5.
Juan Uribe hit an RBI double in the second and Travis Ishikawa added his third homer in the seventh for San Francisco.
“We’ve had rough stretches before and have battled back and found ways to win games,” Ishikawa said.
Atlanta has dropped just one series this year, April 20-22 against Philadelphia, at Turner Field.
NOTES: In his only other start this season against San Francisco, Lowe gave up one run in six innings in a 7-2 win on April 10. ... Infante extended his hitting streak to 11 games.