Published November 20, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) — Pinch-hitter Chipper Jones had a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Nate McLouth started the decisive rally with a one-out walk. He swiped second before Joel Hanrahan (1-1) walked pinch-hitter Brian McCann. Martin Prado struck out but Jones followed with a bloop single into shallow left field, just out of the reach of shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
Jason Heyward added a two-run triple off Javier Lopez as the Braves won their fifth straight game to pull within a half-game of NL East-leading Philadelphia.
Takashi Saito (1-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two batters, and Billy Wagner finished for his seventh save.
Paul Maholm pitched six innings for Pittsburgh, allowing just two runs despite giving up 10 hits. Hanrahan was charged with three runs and one hit with two walks in 1 2-3 innings.
The Pirates have lost five straight and nine of 11.
Troy Glaus drove in Atlanta's first two runs with a first-inning sacrifice fly and a third-inning homer off Maholm. Glaus leads the NL with 25 RBIs in May.
The Braves have won 10 of 12 and are 19-8 in May, but Kenshin Kawakami again was denied his first win of the season.
Kawakami gave up two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. He has three losses and three no-decisions in six starts this month despite giving up three or fewer earned runs in five of the starts.
Kawakami was in line for the decision before giving up Jeff Clement's two-run homer in the seventh, a tying drive set up by a contested foul tip. Plate umpire Brian O'Nora asked third base umpire Chris Guccione for help after Garrett Jones' apparent strikeout on a foul tip. Catcher David Ross caught it, but TV replays supported Guccione's ruling that the ball hit the dirt before landing in Ross's glove.
Braves manager Bobby Cox argued the decision before Jones walked and scored on Clement's drive to right field.
The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the second before Maholm struck out McLouth and Kawakami and got Prado to fly out. They loaded the bases again after the third-inning homer by Glaus, but McLouth's fly ball to right ended the inning.
Atlanta's Yunel Escobar had three hits, lifting his batting average from .188 to .203.
NOTES: Heyward has three triples. ... McCann missed his fourth straight start with a strained right quadriceps before entering the game in the eighth. ... Omar Infante started for Jones at third base and Heyward was the No. 3 hitter for the third time this season. ... Pirates 3B Andy LaRoche did not start but entered in the seventh.