Francisco’s single gives Braves win over LA

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves were scuffling
against Chris Capuano. They turned to an unlikely player for a
spark.

Light-hitting Paul Janish sparked a tying
rally, and kept things going in the 11th inning with his third hit of
the night before pinch-hitter Juan Francisco won it with a two-out
single, giving the Braves their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Los
Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

Janish was acquired
at the trade deadline merely as infield insurance, but injuries have
forced him into the lineup at shortstop. Known mainly for his defensive
skills, he came into the game hitting just .210.

“I
actually thought I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well,” Janish said.
“It wasn’t as bad as it looks.”

Backup catcher David
Ross kept the 11th going with a single, and Janish followed with another
hit off Brandon League (0-1). Jamey Wright took over for the Dodgers,
but Francisco punched one to left between the third baseman and the
shortstop. That set off a raucous celebration near second base as
Francisco playfully tried to flee from his charging
teammates.

“Good teams find a way to win those kind
of games,” Janish said. “Guys are up there grinding at the
plate.”

The Braves rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the
eighth on Martin Prado’s run-scoring groundout and Jason Heyward’s
two-out single, ruining a strong performance by Capuano. He gave up
second-inning homer to Chipper Jones, his third in two nights, but
totally stifled the Braves until the eighth.

“I
thought I was executing my pitches and they just found a way,” Capuano
said. “They’re really putting together a great year. They’re doing the
little things to push a run across when they need to and they’re
pitching very well.”

The Dodgers led after Andre
Ethier’s two-run homer off Tommy Hanson, and Shane Victorino added a
run-scoring double in the seventh. But Los Angeles couldn’t hold the
lead, another discouraging loss after slugger Matt Kemp and manager Don
Mattingly were ejected the previous night in a 10-6 setback at
Pittsburgh.

“It’s one of those losses that, you’re
taking two runs into the eighth, you feel like you’re going to win that
game,” Mattingly said. “It’s just a frustrating game. So many decisions.
Some of them work out, others don’t.”

Hanson made it
to the seventh in his first start coming off the disabled list. Both he
and Capuano were long gone by the time this one was decided. Jonny
Venters (4-3) earned the win for Atlanta.

The Dodgers
had a runner thrown out at the plate before finally breaking through
against Hanson. Mark Ellis led off the sixth with a grounder down the
third-base line that was generously ruled a double after deflecting off
Jones’ glove, and Ethier followed with a shot into the right-field seats
for his 12th homer.

Both teams wasted chances in the
10th.

Pinch-hitter Elian Herrara led off the top
half with a routine grounder to second, but Braves first baseman Freddie
Freeman inexplicably dropped the throw for an error. Victorino moved
the runner along with a sacrifice bunt. After Mark Ellis lined out to
second, Kemp was intentionally walked to bring up Ethier. He grounded
one off Jones’ chest, but he recovered in time to throw out Ethier by a
half-step.

Atlanta threatened when Michael Bourn
singled with one out, stole second and kept on going when the throw
skidded into center field. League fanned Prado, walked Heyward and got
Jones on a fly ball to center.

After Jones’ home,
Capuano surrendered only three hits and a walk over the next six
innings, not allowing a runner past first base. But Janish and Johnson
sparked the Braves, and Capuano was lifted after Bourn moved the runners
along with a sacrifice bunt.

Ronald Belisario
retired Prado on a run-scoring groundout and got ahead in the count on
Heyward. But the Atlanta hitter came through with an opposite-field
single to left, clapping his hands furiously as he rounded first before
giving coach Terry Pendleton an emphatic fist
bump.

Hanson went 6 2-3 innings, lifted after giving
up Victorino’s RBI double on his 100th pitch.

Los
Angeles had plenty of opportunities against Hanson. In the fourth,
Ethier was thrown out at the plate trying to score all the way from
first, Ross applying the tag after making a nice scoop on a one-hop
relay throw from Janish. The next inning, the Dodgers got a runner to
third with one out, but Capuano flied out to shallow left and Victorino
struck out swinging, slamming his bat in
frustration.

NOTES: Jones’ homer
snapped a streak of 13 scoreless innings for Capuano. … To make room
for Hanson, the Braves optioned RHP Cory Gearrin to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves will temporarily go with a six-man rotation to cope with a
stretch of 20 straight games without an off day. … Mattingly spoke
with baseball discipline chief Joe Torre before the game and expects to
receive a suspension for the ejection in Pittsburgh. “A game or two, it
sounds like,” Mattingly said, though there were no immediate sanctions.
“I got a stay of execution,” the manager joked. … Braves closer Craig
Kimbrel hasn’t had a save since Aug. 3, so Atlanta used him in a tie
game. He struck out Hanley Ramirez on a 100 mph fastball and Matt
Treanor on a 98 mph pitch. James Loney actually made contact with a
Kimbrel pitch, but was so frustrated by his weak grounder that he slung
his bat away, striking a screen in front of the seats near the Dodgers’
on-deck circle.