Braves shut out again by Orioles

ATLANTA (AP) — Fredi Gonzalez would like to think

his Atlanta Braves will be more productive when they’re at full

strength.

The problem is they keep losing

players.

The Braves were handed consecutive shutout

losses for the first time in three years when Wei-Yin Chen combined with

four relievers on a seven-hitter and the Baltimore Orioles continued

their success in interleague play by beating Atlanta 2-0 on

Sunday.

First baseman Freddie Freeman missed his

fourth straight game, including all three against the Orioles, with a

sore finger.

“When the guy that’s hit third for most

of the year is sitting next to you for the last three or four games and

he’s not healthy, it hurts,” Gonzalez said.

The

Braves lost another key player when they placed starting pitcher Brandon

Beachy on the 15-day disabled list before the game. Beachy, who leads

the major leagues with his 2.00 ERA, left Saturday night’s loss with a

sore elbow and will have an MRI on Monday.

Jason

Hammel threw a one-hitter in a 5-0 victory for the Orioles on Saturday

night.

The Braves, who have lost six of seven, had

not been shut out in back-to-back games since June 5-6, 2009, when

Milwaukee won two straight in Atlanta.

“The only

thing we need to avoid is pressing,” said Braves third baseman Chipper

Jones, who was 0 for 3 with a walk.

Jones missed

Saturday’s game with swelling in his left knee. He was on the disabled

list from May 26 to June 10 with a bruised calf and said “it seems we

can’t fire on all cylinders at once” due to illnesses and

injuries.

Even so, Jones said the Braves should be

more productive.

“You’d still like to think you can

go out there and score three runs no matter who’s in the ballgame,” he

said.

The Orioles, who remained 1 games behind the

first-place New York Yankees in the AL East, have won seven of eight.

They are 9-3 in interleague play with series wins over Washington,

Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

Chen (7-2) gave

up six hits and one walk in seven innings to outpitch Randall Delgado

(4-7), who allowed only two runs and three hits in eight

innings.

Delgado’s eight innings matched his longest

start. He walked one batter and struck out

six.

Despite the loss, Gonzalez called Delgado’s

strong start “a big step forward” for the team and the

right-hander.

Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for

his 20th save. Darren O’Day, Troy Patton and Pedro Strop combined for a

scoreless eighth.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter

applauded Chen’s ability to successfully bunt and field bunts — no

small feat for an American League pitcher from

Taiwan.

Chen’s sacrifice helped the Orioles score a

run in the sixth.

“It’s something you work on in

spring training and it could be a difference-maker in the game, and I

think it was today,” Showalter said.

Chen fielded a

poor bunt by Delgado in the third to start a double play that helped

spoil a scoring opportunity for Atlanta.

Adam Jones

led off the second with a ground-rule double to right field. After

moving to third on Wilson Betemit’s fly ball, he scored on Mark

Reynolds’ sacrifice fly.

“They did a good job of

executing small ball,” Braves catcher David Ross said. “They played the

game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

A misplay

by Matt Diaz helped Baltimore stretch the lead in the sixth. Diaz ran in

before stopping too late and watching a line drive by Steve Pearce sail

over his head for a double to the left-field wall. Pearce advanced on

the sacrifice by Chen and scored when Delgado balked with Robert Andino

at the plate.

The Braves hit into double plays in

each of the first three innings.

Ross and Andrelton

Simmons led off the third with singles before Delgado bounced a bunt too

hard toward Chen, who threw to third to start a double play. Simmons

advanced to third on a throwing error by Andino at second base, but

Michael Bourn ended the inning on a groundout.

The

third was the only inning in which the Braves managed more than one

hit.

Showalter said he was impressed by the play of

Simmons, the rookie shortstop who in the fourth inning made a tough grab

of a sharply hit grounder by Jones and bounced up to make a strong

throw to first to end the inning.

Atlanta’s Eric

O’Flaherty, who had been out with a sore left elbow, got one out in the

ninth in his first appearance since June

8.

NOTES: The Braves recalled RHP

Todd Redmond from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Beachy’s roster spot.

Redmond will pitch out of the bullpen. … Freeman said the swollen

knuckle on his left index finger has improved “a lot” after two

cortisone shots Saturday. … Delgado also lasted eight innings on May

3, giving up two runs in a loss to Philadelphia. … The Braves head to

New York to play the Yankees, who swept three games in Atlanta last

week. Mike Minor faces CC Sabathia on Monday night.