Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 4/27)

Game 1: Friday, April 27
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Atlanta6
Game 2: Saturday, April 28
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Atlanta2
Game 3: Sunday, April 29
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Atlanta4
Game 4: Monday, April 30
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Atlanta3

Pirates 1

(8-11, 3-7 away)

Braves 6

(13-7, 6-1 home)

Coverage:  FSS

7:35 PM ET, April 27, 2012

Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

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W: T. Hanson (3-2)

L: A. Burnett (1-1)

S: K. Medlen (1)

Braves 6, Pirates 1

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- A.J. Burnett hasn't won at Turner Field in more than a decade.

That streak remained intact, thanks to a couple of untimely walks and some timely hits by the Atlanta Braves.

Tommy Hanson allowed one run in six innings, Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones came through in a four-run seventh that broke open a close game, and the streaking Braves defeated Burnett and the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Friday night.

Burnett (1-1) went six innings for the Pirates, allowing just two runs but losing for the eighth time in nine career decisions at the Ted.

"You're always one pitch away from getting out of jams," he moaned.

Burnett matched Hanson's line as far as hits (six) and walks (three). But the Braves manufactured a couple of runs against the Pittsburgh right-hander, who hasn't won at Turner Field since Oct. 7, 2001, with the Marlins. This was his sixth straight loss in Atlanta.

The Braves pounced when Tyler Pastornicky walked in the third. Hanson put down a sacrifice bunt, the runner moved to third on Michael Bourn's groundout, and Martin Prado came through with the two-out single to right. Atlanta was even more resourceful in the fourth. Jason Heyward walked with two outs, stole second and raced home when Pastornicky lined a hit into right-center, the ball just clearing the glove of leaping second baseman Neil Walker.

"It was an alright game, a few pitches here and there," Burnett said. "But the walks. The walks killed me."

Hanson (3-2) worked around six hits and three walks, his only blemish an RBI single by Garrett Jones in the fourth. Kris Medlen worked the final three innings, earning his first career save. Uggla and Jones drove in two runs apiece in the seventh -- and both contributed stellar defensive plays as well.

"The biggest thing right now is our starting pitching," Uggla said. "If we've got a lead in the sixth or seventh inning, we'll always have a pretty good chance. We're getting some timely hitting, too, some good at-bats, picking each other up. That's the goal every day."

Atlanta won for the 13th time in 16 games after an 0-4 start. Those first four games are long forgotten, but not last year's historic collapse that cost the Braves a spot in the playoffs.

"Everybody knows how important these games are," Uggla said. "This will pay dividends in September."

The Braves were clinging to a 2-1 lead when they broke it open against the Pittsburgh bullpen in the seventh. After Tony Watson gave up a single and walked consecutive batters to load the bases, the Pirates brought in right-hander Evan Meek to face Uggla.

Bad move. Uggla lined a double to right-center, two runs coming home to make it 4-1. Jones followed with a hit past the drawn-in third baseman, driving in two more runs.

The Pirates scored their lone run in the top half of the fourth. Andrew McCutchen singled, stole second and scored on Jones' run-scoring single. The Pirates were poised for a really big inning when Hanson walked Pedro Alvarez and Casey McGehee to load the bases with one out, but Rod Barajas grounded into a double play.

"We need one hit," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We need a knockout punch. We're still missing that one ball in the gap."

The Braves ended the seventh and eighth with defensive highlights.

Uggla went flying out into short center to make a diving grab on Nate McLouth's popup, managing to hang on even after Pastornicky tumbled over him. Then it was Jones, three days removed from his 40th birthday, making a diving catch on a liner by McCutchen.

"They made four fantastic plays defensively and were very efficient offensively with runners in scoring position," Hurdle said.

Game notes


McGehee was dropped to seventh in the order, the lowest the first baseman has batted this season. McGehee usually hits fourth or fifth, but Hurdle decided to shake things up against the right-handed Hanson. Jones batted fourth, followed by Walker and Alvarez, giving the Pirates three straight left-handed hitters before McGehee. ... Jair Jurrjens, a 2011 All-Star who was sent to the minors after a miserable start, will make his debut for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday at Toledo. That same day, Tim Hudson makes his season debut for the Braves after recovering from back surgery. ... Pirates minor league OF Josh Bell underwent surgery Friday to repair the meniscus in his left knee. He will be return to the Pirates' spring training base in Bradenton, Fla., to begin his rehab and is expected to return this season. ... Braves C Brian McCann left the game after the fifth with a strained muscle in his right side. He was day to day. ... In the second of four games at Turner Field, Pittsburgh will send Erik Bedard (0-4) to the mound against Atlanta's Randall Delgado (2-1) on Saturday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Game Information

StadiumTurner Field, Atlanta, GA
Attendance36,215 (73.3% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
Game Time2:57
Weather75 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind11 mph
UmpiresHome Plate - Dana Demuth, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Paul Nauert

Research Notes

Jason Heyward scored a go-ahead run giving the Braves a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning after stealing second base Friday. Heyward is 7 for 7 stealing bases this season, he didn't steal his 7th base until September 9th last season.
Brian McCann threw out Alex Presley attempting to steal second base in the top of the fifth with Tommy Hanson pitching Friday. Prior to the caught stealing, 21 consecutive base runners had successfully stolen against the combination of Hanson and McCann dating back to May 21, 2011 when Torii Hunter was caught stealing second base.

ESPN Stats & Information