Braves 4, Orioles 2
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, known more for his defense, is
proving in his first month in the major leagues he’s not a
Simmons made amends for his first career error by hitting a
two-run, go-ahead homer in the sixth inning and the Atlanta Braves
beat Baltimore 4-2 on Friday night to end the Orioles’ five-game
Simmons is hitting .333 with two homers and already has five
multi-hit games, including three hits against the Orioles. He was
called up on June 2 when the team optioned another rookie, Tyler
Pastornicky, to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The homer was important after Simmons’ throwing error helped
lead to Baltimore’s two runs off Tommy Hanson in the fourth.
”After I made the error, I felt like it cost us two runs,”
Simmons said. ”I was trying to make it up to the team and to
”You try not to try too hard, but it’s in the back of your
head. You try to cover your mistakes.”
Brian McCann’s first-inning homer off Brian Matusz (5-7) gave
Atlanta a 1-0 lead.
Chad Durbin (3-0) struck out the two batters he faced after
taking over for Hanson in the sixth.
Kris Medlen, recalled from Gwinnett before the game, gave up one
hit and one walk in two scoreless innings to set up closer Craig
Kimbrel, who pitched the ninth for his 19th save as the Braves
snapped a four-game losing streak.
Simmons’ homer, which barely cleared the wall in left, drove in
Matt Diaz, who singled, to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he didn’t think Simmons’ shot
was going to make it over the wall.
”It looked the ball hung out there for the longest time, from
my vantage point,” Gonzalez said.
Pinch-hitter Jack Wilson followed with a triple to center and he
scored on Michael Bourn’s soft single up the middle.
Matusz fell to 0-6 in seven career interleague starts. He gave
up four runs, nine hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings.
”I was one good pitch away from getting out of that sixth,”
”This one’s tough to swallow. I felt like I battled throughout
the game, making some good pitches to get out of some jams. That
sixth inning was tough, getting two outs and then leaving the ball
over the plate, giving up the home run and not being able to close
out the inning.”
The Orioles scored two runs off Hanson in the fourth with help
from two errors, including a bobble by Bourn in center field.
Simmons threw high to first after fielding Mark Reynolds’
grounder. Reynolds scored as Bourn mishandled Wilson Betemit’s
double in center, allowing Reynolds to score from first and Betemit
to advance to third. It also was Bourn’s first error.
Betemit scored, barely beating right fielder Jason Heyward’s
throw to the plate, on Steve Pearce’s fly ball. Betemit, who began
his career with the Braves, had two hits.
The Orioles fell 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees in
the AL East. New York beat Washington 7-2.
The Orioles hit into four double plays to boost their total to
72, the most in the major leagues. Matt Wieters’ grounder to
Simmons with the bases loaded in the third started an inning-ending
double play. Pinch-hitter Nick Johnson hit into a double play to
end the game.
Hanson showed his frequent disagreement with home plate umpire
Derryl Cousins’ strike zone as he set a career-high with six walks
in 5 1-3 innings.
”Hanson was just missing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter
said. ”There were a lot of borderline pitches tonight and we just
didn’t take advantage of it. It came back to haunt us.”
Hanson gave up four hits and two unearned runs. He was pulled
after consecutive walks in the sixth. He took a look at Cousins as
he walked off the field.
Chris Davis, normally a first baseman or designated hitter, made
his first career start in right field for Baltimore. He made a
tumbling catch near the foul line on Chipper Jones’ sinking liner
in the sixth.
With Freddie Freeman still bothered by a sore left index finger
and thumb, Atlanta’s Martin Prado made his first start of the
season at first base.
Prado delivered with a strong play in the first inning as he
snagged a grounder by Davis and threw to Simmons to start a double
play. Dan Uggla opened the game with a strong play at second base,
diving to his left to stop a grounder by Brian Roberts before
completing the play with the throw to first.
Prado made another strong play to end the seventh as he made a
leaping stab of another sharply hit grounder by Davis.
Bourn, charging toward the infield, made a diving catch of J.J.
Hardy’s shallow fly ball in the fifth.
”I needed it tonight and they picked me up big-time,” Hanson
said of the defense.
NOTES: The Braves designated RHP Livan Hernandez for assignment.
Hernandez, 37, gave up seven hits and five runs in 1 2-3 innings
against Toronto on Sunday. He was 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA and one save.
… Orioles OF Nolan Reimold, who has been on the DL since May 4
with a herniated disc in his neck, will see a neurosurgeon in
Baltimore. Showalter said he expects a report Monday. …. Hanson’s
strikeout of Wieters in the sixth was the 500th of his career. …
Brandon Beachy, who leads the majors with a 1.98 ERA, will face
Baltimore’s Jason Hammel on Saturday night.