for this game

Francoeur's walk-off homer lifts Braves

May 25, 2008 - 12:09 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Jeff Francoeur and the Atlanta Braves keep on piling up the wins at home.

Francoeur belted a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and Chipper Jones collected two hits to lead the Braves to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday afternoon.

Yunel Escobar plated a run and made a stellar defensive play at shortstop for Atlanta, which improved to 9-0 in day games at Turner Field.

"When I hit it, I thought it was going to be gone," Francoeur said. "But (Arizona left fielder Eric Byrnes) kept running. I thought it would have (stunk) if he caught it. Luckily, it was hit enough to get out."

Jones ignited the rally in the ninth with an opposite-field base hit off Diamondbacks lefthander Doug Slaten (0-1) and advanced to second on Mark Teixeira's slow roller to shortstop Stephen Drew.

Arizona manager Bob Melvin then elected to bring in the righthander Chad Qualls to face Francoeur. The righthanded slugger, who has a flair for the dramatic, blasted an 0-1 offering just over the left field wall for his second career walk-off homer.

The ball was held up but still made it through a stiff wind blowing in from left, giving Atlanta its sixth win in the last seven games.

"It's funny, I asked (Francoeur) when Chipper was up 2-0, 'Should I let him swing,' and asked, 'Is it possible to get the ball out of the park?'" Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "(Francoeur) said, 'I don't think so.' Francoeur hit the ball that went out. It's ironic."

"I knew it had a chance," said Jones, who raised his major league-leading average to .417. "When it went over my head, I knew it was going to be close. I just didn't know if he got enough. I was blowing trying to blow it out of the park."

The blast made a winner of reliever Blaine Boyer (1-3), who recorded the last five outs.

Arizona starter Randy Johnson, who hurled baseball's 17th perfect game on May 18, 2004, in his last start in Atlanta, pitched well. The five-time Cy Young Award winner allowed one run and five hits in six innings, striking out a season-high 10.

"Overall, I felt like I got in a rhythm," said Johnson, who collected his 210th career 10-plus strikeout game. "I made pitches. I was able to stay back and make pitches."

Johnson, who moved within nine strikeouts of matching Roger Clemens (4,672) for second place on the all-time list, threw 58 of his 82 pitches for strikes before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh.

"He reminds me of (John) Smoltz," Jones said. "Not a lot of fastballs, lots of curveballs and sliders. He's having to make that transition from throwing 96, 97 (miles per hour) to a guy that throws 91, 92. He's just as effective as ever."

The Braves struck first against the "Big Unit" when rookie Gregor Blanco began the third inning by hooking a shot down the right field line for a triple. After Johnson retired counterpart Jorge Campillo on a grounder, Escobar plated Blanco with a single to left.

"A game like that, a one-run game, little mistakes can be the difference," said Johnson, whose club fell to 1-4 on its seven-game road trip. "It's kind of frustrating, but it's been a frustrating road trip for everybody."

Campillo yielded two hits and struck out three in four frames before leaving with a blister on his middle finger.

Jeff Bennett relieved Campillo and held slumping Arizona at bay until the seventh.

Bennett issued a leadoff walk to Justin Upton, who beat third baseman Jones' throw to second on a grounder by Eric Byrnes. After Bennett recorded the next two outs, pinch hitter Augie Ojeda lined a single to left, plating Upton to tie the contest at 1-1.

But the highlight of Bennett's night was his first career hit - a soft single to right-center field off Johnson in the fifth.

"It's been a long time," said Bennett, who after some contemplation asked Johnson for the ball. "I didn't want to get the ball from Randy. He could get mad."

Escobar robbed the Diamondbacks from a big inning in the sixth.

After Arizona loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on two walks sandwiched around Bennett's throwing error, Escobar made a sensational barehanded grab on a grounder to short, stepping on the second base bag and throwing to first.

Teixeira made a nice snag on the ball at first base to complete the double play as Escobar emphatically slapped his glove twice.

One night after erupting for a season-high 11 runs and nine hits on Friday, Arizona reverted back to its slumping ways. The Diamondbacks, who sported a .183 (33-for-180) batting average in six games before Friday's outburst, collected just three singles to waste a stellar performance by Johnson.

"Anytime you have a good outing like that (from Johnson), you ought to win the game," Ojeda said. "It was one of those days where they capitalized at the end."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 8 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ARI - RANDY JOHNSON, TONY PENA (7TH), DOUG SLATEN (9TH), CHAD QUALLS
    (9TH) AND MIGUEL MONTERO
    ATL - JORGE CAMPILLO, JEFF BENNETT (5TH), WILL OHMAN
    (8TH), BLAINE BO

    May 24 6:36 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JEFF FRANCOEUR (5) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 9TH OFF CHAD QUALLS SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    FINAL SCORE: ATLANTA 3, ARIZONA 1

    Diamondbacks 1, Braves 3  Bot 9, 0 OutsMay 24 6:36 PM
  • 82
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Diamondbacks 1, Braves 1  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 24 6:18 PM
  • 10
    roots
    senorpepr Added 5 roots

    Diamondbacks 1, Braves 1  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 24 6:11 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AUGIE OJEDA SCORED JUSTIN UPTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A OJEDA ON FIRST, E BYRNES ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 1
    ATLANTA 1 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C YOUNG (.245, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Diamondbacks 1, Braves 1  Top 7, 0 OutsMay 24 5:49 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED GREGOR BLANCO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, Y ESCOBAR ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 0
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: O INFANTE (.297, 0-FOR-1)

    Diamondbacks 0, Braves 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 24 4:40 PM
  • 5
    roots
    alamowx Added 5 roots

    Diamondbacks vs. BravesMay 23 6:44 PM