PITTSBURGH – Julio Franco’s two-out double in the ninth scored the game’s only run and rookie Kyle Davies shut down the Pirates into the eighth inning, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh.

Dominated for eight innings by Mark Redman, the Braves advanced only one runner to second – and that on a strikeout – until the 46-year-old Franco’s double off reliever Mike Gonzalez (0-2) to right scored Brian Jordan, who had reached on a force play. The RBI was only the eighth for Franco, who was making an infrequent start.

Atlanta won for only the second time in six games and dealt Pittsburgh only its second loss in six games.

Davies and relievers John Foster and Chris Reitsma combined on the six-hit shutout, which saw the Pirates strand eight runners – most in scoring position. Davies made a fourth successive strong start, allowing six hits over 7 2-3 scoreless innings.

Foster (1-0), who hasn’t allowed a run in 16 appearances, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by getting Daryle Ward on a soft grounder. Reitsma pitched the ninth for his third save in five opportunities.

The Pirates had at least two runners on with one out or fewer three times in the first six innings, yet couldn’t score against Davies, who has allowed runs in only two of the 23 1-3 innings he’s pitched in the majors so far.

With runners on second and third in the first, Rob Mackowiak popped up and Ward grounded out. Redman grounded into an inning-ending double play in the fifth after the Pirates had two on and none out. In the sixth, Matt Lawton singled for his third straight hit and Freddy Sanchez doubled down the right-field line, but Jason Bay popped up and Ward hit into a double play after Mackowiak was intentionally walked.

Ward went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and stranded seven runners. He bounced out weakly to end the eighth after Davies (two walks) and Foster (one walk) combined to load the bases on walks.

Davies lowered his ERA to 0.77, striking out five and walking four. Redman allowed three singles, struck out three and walked one in the eighth start in which he has allowed two earned runs or fewer.

Redman didn’t advance a runner past first until Andruw Jones struck out to apparently end the Braves’ at-bat, but advanced as Redman’s wild pitch eluded catcher David Ross and took second when Ross threw wildly trying to throw him out.

Notes: Age has its privileges: When a foul ball ricocheted to him at first, Franco held onto the ball for a moment, then flipped it to second baseman Marcus Giles to throw into the dugout for him. … Chipper Jones sat out with a sore heel, but flew out as a pinch-hitter. … The Braves are 20-9 against Pittsburgh since 2001. … The Braves played their 11th consecutive errorless game.

AP-ES-06-04-05 2138EDT


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