Braves use long ball to club Pirates

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Updated: April 19, 2013

braves

Evan Gattis hit a go-ahead two-run homer in
the eighth inning, while Justin and B.J. Upton both hit solo home runs as the
Atlanta Braves edged the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-4, in the opener of a four-game
set.

Chris Johnson had three hits, including a two-run blast, for the Braves,
who bounced back after their 10-game winning streak came to an end on
Wednesday versus Kansas City.

Atlanta starter Julio Teheran gave up four runs on seven hits and struck
out four over five innings. Anthony Varvaro (1-0) tossed two strong innings in
relief to pick up the win.

Garrett Jones had a double and two RBI for the Pirates, while Pedro Alvarez
and Russell Martin each hit solo home runs. Starter Jeff Locke allowed four
runs and walked four over 4 2/3 innings. The lefty also gave up three home
runs on six hits.

Jared Hughes (1-1) was dealt with the loss after lasting 1 1/3 innings and
giving up two runs on two hits, including Gattis’ clutch homer.

“The ball didn’t sink and he did a good job of getting his hands inside of it
and hitting it hard,” Hughes said of Gattis’ homer.

B.J. Upton led off the first inning with a solo blast, his second home run of
the season, to deep left to make it 1-0. Jones, though, delivered a sacrifice
fly to center in the bottom of the frame that scored Travis Snider to make it
1-1.

Martin put the Pirates on top with a solo shot to left in the bottom of the
second. Locke, however, ran into some trouble in the third. Justin Upton drew
a two-out walk and Johnson made the Bucs pay with a shot over the wall in
center that made it 3-2.

In the fourth, Alvarez took a 1-0 offering over the left-center field wall to
tie the game at 3-3.

Justin Upton answered for the Braves in the fifth. His ninth home run of the
season also went to left, like his brother’s, and put Atlanta back on top.

Trailing 4-3 in the fifth, Jones doubled to deep right-center to score Snider,
who doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a wild pitch.

Atlanta finally broke open the contest in the eighth. Andrelton Simmons drew a
walk against Hughes and moved to second on Gerald Laird’s sacrifice bunt.
Gattis, who pinch-hit for Varvaro, then launched his two-run shot over the
left-field wall to make it 6-4.

“I didn’t think I hit it hard enough. It started hooking and I’m glad it did
because I don’t think it would have gone out otherwise,” Gattis said of his
homer.

Atlanta reliever Craig Kimbrel tossed a perfect ninth inning for his seventh
save of the season.

Game Notes

Justin Upton now has nine home runs through 15 games this season. It took him
98 games to hit nine home runs last year … Snider had two doubles and two
runs scored for Pittsburgh … Pirates left fielder Starling Marte’s 10-
game hit streak came to an end after he went 0-for-5.