ATLANTA (AP) – Ender Inciarte broke a tie with an RBI single in the fifth inning and the offensively challenged Atlanta Braves had 15 hits to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-4 on Wednesday night.
Last in the major leagues in runs, the Braves crossed the plate eight times after the Pirates took a 4-0 lead in the first.
Pittsburgh, which began the day two games out of a wild-card spot, has lost four five. Atlanta improved to 17-39 at Turner Field, the worst home record in the majors.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke (8-7) blew the four-run lead and was chased on Inciarte’s single. He allowed nine hits, five runs, two walks and struck out one in 4 1-3 innings. Locke is 0-2 with an 11.91 ERA in his last three starts.
Atlanta scored two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh off Juan Nicasio, taking an 8-4 lead on Adonis Garcia’s RBI single, Matt Kemp’s sacrifice fly and Erick Aybar’s RBI triple.
Braves starter Rob Whalen (1-0), making his first career appearance, gave up four hits, four runs, four walks and struck out five in five innings.
Whalen put himself in a 4-0 hole on Matt Joyce’s 11th homer, a three-run shot, and a run that scored on a wild pitch. He labored early, throwing balls on 32 of his first 62 pitches.
Atlanta crept back in the game on Anthony Recker’s RBI groundout in the second, Freddie Freeman’s RBI double in the third and Recker’s RBI double, which made it 4-3 in the fourth.
The Braves took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on Nick Markakis’ sacrifice fly and Inciarte’s single. Inciarte went 3 for 4 and has hit safely in a season-best 14 games. He has a .377 average since July 19.
Joyce, in the lineup for slumping Andrew McCutchen, is hitting .294 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last 10 starts.
Starling Marte was hit by two pitches but stayed in the game. The first one in the first grazed his left hand, but the next one in the fifth hit his left hand solidly. Marte has been hit by 15 pitches, third-most in the NL. … C Francisco Cervelli is still being evaluated after getting hit in the left side of the helmet by a pitch on Tuesday. Cervelli, who’s had concussion issues in his career, left the game after noticing his helmet was cracked as he stood at first base a few minutes later.
The Braves have used 13 starting pitchers this season, their most since 1987 when they lost 92 games. The Atlanta franchise record of 15 was set in 1975 when the Braves lost 94 games.
The Braves optioned RHP Ryan Weber and INF Daniel Castro to Triple-A Gwinnett and selected the contracts of Whalen and RHP Brandon Cunniff.
Pirates: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-1) is 2-3 with a 5.08 ERA in five career starts and three relief appearances against Atlanta
Braves: RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1-2) will make his fifth career start. He has never faced Pittsburgh.