Braves shut out again by Orioles

BY foxsports • June 17, 2012

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.


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