Posted: Tuesday, August 16th 2011 at 10:35pm
Another late win: Delgado, Prado lead Braves over Giants
By The Associated Press
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Randall Delgado throws in the second inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday in Atlanta. / photo: Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Rookie Randall Delgado allowed no hits through six innings in his second big-league start, and the Atlanta Braves pulled out another last at-bat win on Martin Prado's two-out single in the 11th Tuesday night.
Delgado was the star early on, allowing his lone hit on Cody Ross' leadoff homer in the seventh. Prado came through at the end, driving in Brooks Conrad from third with an opposite-field single to right off Javier Lopez (5-2). Conrad had reached on a ground-rule double while pinch-hitting.
Arodys Vizcaino (1-0) picked up his first big league win with two scoreless innings. The Braves won for the second straight night in their final at-bat and lead the NL with 22 of those victories.
The Braves rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning of the series opener, winning 5-4 on Freddie Freeman's two-out, two-run single off Brian Wilson.
Delgado, a 21-year-old prized prospect from Panama, was activated before the game to fill in for injured starter Tommy Hanson.
What a job the youngster did.
He faced the minimum through six innings, the only baserunner reaching in the fourth when Mike Fontenot walked with one out, only to be erased on a nifty double play by the Braves.
Second baseman Dan Uggla went to his knees to field a grounder by Pablo Sandoval, wheeled around and threw to second, where shortstop Alex Gonzalez made the relay throw while leaping over a sliding Fontenot.
Delgado went over to pat gloves with Uggla on their way to the dugout.
Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez had hoped to get six innings out of the rookie, who made his major league debut on June 17 against defending AL champion Texas. Delgado looked a bit shaky in that one, giving up seven hits and three earned runs in four innings, taking the loss in a 6-2 setback.
He looked a lot more comfortable facing the team that beat Texas in the World Series, mixing a mid-90s fastball with breaking pitches that had the Giants lunging. Chris Stewart was so fooled while striking out in the sixth, he flung his bat into the stands behind home plate. No one was hurt, fortunately.
But Ross finally got to Delgado in the seventh. The right-hander threw three straight balls, managed a strike, then served up a 92 mph pitch that Ross launched deep into the left-field seats for his 10th homer.
To that point, the only other really hard-hit ball off Delgado had been Aubrey Huff's liner in the second, which went straight to third baseman Chipper Jones.
As soon as Ross finished circling the bases, Gonzalez popped from the dugout to switch pitchers. Delgado threw 74 pitches and received a standing ovation as he walked slowly off the field.
He'll keep on walking right back to Triple-A. The Braves had already said he would return to the minors with Jair Jurrjens coming off the DL on Wednesday to start against the Giants.
The Giants lost their starter in the third inning, the latest in an increasingly dire stretch of injuries for the defending champs.
Jonathan Sanchez sprained his left ankle when he slipped in front of the mound while fielding Delgado's sacrifice bunt. He managed to make an awkward throw to first base from the ground, barely getting Delgado, but threw only one more pitch.
After delivering one that was nearly over the head of Michael Bourn, Sanchez limped off the mound and was replaced by Guillermo Mota.
After replacing Sanchez, Mota gave up a two-out single to Bourn that drove in speedster Jose Constanza, the surprising sparkplug of the Braves offense. The 27-year-old career minor leaguer reached on a bunt single and is hitting .403 since coming up to Atlanta in late June, playing so well that he's starting ahead of last year's rookie star, Jason Heyward.
The Giants cut off the throw home and got Bourn in a rundown - and what a rundown it was. Bourn drew five throws running back and forth before getting tagged out on a weary, headfirst slide into first.
-- NOTES: IF Miguel Tejada was supposed to do a rehab stint in the minors, but the injury situation forced the Giants to put him straight in the lineup at third base. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones batted sixth, the lowest he's hit in the Atlanta order since 1997. ... Gonzalez said he's considering a six-man rotation when Hanson comes off the DL. ... Jurrjens will be making his second career start against the Giants. He's 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his only other appearance. ... Matt Cain will get the nod for San Francisco in the series finale. He's 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five career starts vs. the Braves.
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