for this game

Escobar, McCann help Braves edge Athletics

May 18, 2008 - 10:06 PM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- A combination of timely hitting and solid pitching fueled the Atlanta Braves to yet another win at Turner Field.

Yunel Escobar collected three hits and drove in two runs to lead the Braves to a 5-2 win over the struggling Oakland Athletics in the rubber game of the three-game set on Sunday.

Jo-Jo Reyes (2-1) hurled five effective frames and the bullpen recorded four shutout innings to extend their scoreless streak to 16 for Atlanta, which improved to 16-5 at Turner Field.

"Knock on wood, (the bullpen) has been terrific," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "They have been terrific out there. With (Peter) Moylan and (Rafael) Soriano out, they have assumed a tough burden, but they've done it."

Escobar greeted Oakland starter Justin Duchscherer (3-3) with a single on the righthander's first offering and advanced to second on a groundout before Brian McCann plated Atlanta's leadoff hitter with a single down the right field line to knot the game at 1-1.

The 25-year-old Escobar put the Braves ahead in the second.

Kelly Johnson led off the frame by executing a perfect bunt down the first base line and Gregor Blanco singled before the pair advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Reyes.

Escobar followed with a base hit to left, plating Johnson and Blanco to give Atlanta a 3-1 edge.

Oakland, which scored four runs over four contests before plating five on Saturday, once again struggled with runners on base. The A's stranded runners at third in the second, sixth, seventh and eighth.

"We didn't deserve to win that game," Oakland first baseman Mike Sweeney said. "We didn't play well enough to win."

The Athletics, who matched the Braves' 11 hits, had a runner on base in each frame and finished 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"We had a lot of opportunities that we didn't capitalize on," A's manager Bob Geren said. "That was the real difference in the game. We had as many hits as they did. We just couldn't get the big two-out hit. They got the two-out hit."

Over their last six games, Oakland is a dismal 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position. Not surprisingly, they have been on the losing end in five of those games.

In this one, Oakland squandered a bases-loaded no-out situation in the second and blew a chance to tie the game in the sixth.

Emil Brown led off the sixth with a single and was plated on a double by Jack Hannahan, chasing Reyes to close the gap to 3-2.

Jeff Bennett came on in relief and retired the first batter he faced before Oakland got a break.

Rookie Gregorio Petit, who connected for his first major league hit in his big league debut in the fourth, lofted a fly ball to right-center field. Atlanta's Mark Kotsay misjudged the ball, taking a few steps in before the ball ticked off his glove in center for a double.

But Hannahan, who held up on the play, could only advance to third. Bennett shut the door, striking out pinch hitter Frank Thomas and inducing Rajai Davis to ground out to end the threat.

"Coming in (with the score) 3-2, that's when you want to leave (Reyes') runner out there," Bennett said. "I had to go attack everyone to get a ground ball. We luckily got that in that inning."

Reyes allowed two runs and eight hits, walked two and struck out six in five-plus innings for Atlanta.

Bennett hurled two solid frames before Blaine Boyer worked around a triple in the eighth. Will Ohman retired the first batter in the ninth and Manny Acosta recorded the last two outs to preserve yet another home victory.

"We had a talk a couple of days ago about locking it in, keeping us in the game and making pitches," Bennett said. "That's what we're doing. Everybody is going in there, executing and making pitches. That's what Bobby (Cox) expects and we want to make him proud."

Chipper Jones singled in the eighth and scored on Omar Infante's two-run triple. The 36-year-old slugger finished 1-for-3, but saw his major league-leading average fall two points to .410.

Duchscherer scattered three runs and seven hits in five innings.

Bobby Crosby smashed his third homer of the season in the first for Oakland, which dropped seven of nine on their 10-day road trip.

"We should be embarrassed to go 2-7 on this road trip," Sweeney said. "We're a better team than that."








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 11 0
    ATLANTA 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 x 5 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER, CHAD GAUDIN (6TH), ALAN EMBREE (8TH) AND
    ROB BOWEN
    ATL - JO-JO REYES, JEFF BENNETT (6TH), BLAINE BOYER
    (8TH), WILL OHMAN (9TH), MANNY ACO

    May 18 4:25 PM


  • ML
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY OMAR INFANTE SCORED CHIPPER JONES AND MARK
    TEIXEIRA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, O INFANTE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
    ATLANTA 5 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: G BLANCO (.312, 2-FOR-2, BB)

    Athletics 2, Braves 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 18 4:08 PM


  • ML
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JACK HANNAHAN SCORED EMIL BROWN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J HANNAHAN ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
    ATLANTA 3 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: R BOWEN (.200, 1-FOR-2)

    Athletics 2, Braves 3  Top 6, 0 OutsMay 18 3:13 PM


  • ML
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED KELLY JOHNSON AND GREGOR
    BLANCO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M KOTSAY (.301, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 1, Braves 3  Bot 2, 0 OutsMay 18 2:21 PM


  • ML
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B MCCANN ON SECOND, C JONES ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.267, 3 HR, 26 RBI)

    Athletics 1, Braves 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 18 1:58 PM


  • ML
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 1 2 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER
    ATL - JO-JO REYES

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: Y ESCOBAR (.297, 4 HR, 17 RBI)
    M KOTSAY (.303, 3 HR, 19 RBI)
    C JONES (.412, 11 HR, 32 RB

    Athletics 1, Braves 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 18 1:43 PM