ATLANTA (AP) – Jung Ho Kang doubled in the tiebreaking run in a four-run sixth inning to lead Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Matt Kemp went 0 for 4 and ended the game with a strikeout in his Atlanta debut.
Cole was coming off the first complete game of his career, a 10-1 win over Seattle last Wednesday. He wasn’t as dominant this time, but didn’t need to be against the major leagues’ worst offense.
Cole (7-6) struck out four and allowed seven hits, two walks and two runs – one earned – in five innings. He threw 97 pitches, four more than he did in his complete game.
Tony Watson, in his first game as Pirates closer since Mark Melancon’s trade to Washington, earned his first save since April 22, 2015.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, but he squandered a 1-0 lead after his 82 mph changeup hit Francisco Cervelli in the left side of the helmet. Adam Frazier singled after facing 12 pitches, and pinch-runner Jeff Fryer scored on Jordy Mercer’s RBI groundout.
Matt Joyce’s RBI single in the sixth made it 2-all. Kang put the Pirates up 3-2 and chased Foltynewicz. Frazier’s two-run single off Jose Ramirez gave Pittsburgh a 5-2 lead.
Foltynewicz (4-5) allowed four hits, five runs, three walks and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings.
The Braves led 2-1 in the fifth after Nick Markakis’ RBI single. They went up 1-0 in the fourth. A.J. Pierzynski’s grounder stayed in the infield after it bounced off the arm of Frazier, the second baseman, but it was surprisingly scored an RBI double.
Markakis cut the lead to 5-3 in the eighth with his sixth homer.
Pirates: Cervelli initially insisted he was fine after getting hit by Foltynewicz’s pitch and went to first base after getting checked out by a trainer. He called timeout before Frazier, the next batter, took a pitch and left the game.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. He was originally injured during a four-inning start July 22 at Colorado.
Pirates: Jeff Locke (8-6) is 2-2 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: Interim manager Brian Snitker wasn’t sure who would start today.