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.