Atlanta, GA – Andrelton Simmons crushed the go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning among his three hits and the Atlanta Braves topped the Baltimore Orioles, 4-2, in the opener of a three- game interleague series at Turner Field.
Brian McCann ripped a solo home run and Michael Bourn added an RBI base hit to extend his career-best hitting streak to 14 games for the Braves, who bounced back nicely after losing three straight to the New York Yankees earlier in the week.
Chad Durbin (3-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Tommy Hanson, who allowed two unearned runs on four hits and six walks with a pair of strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
"The biggest thing is that we won and had some good defense and timely hitting," Hanson said. "The walks definitely hurt me, but it's good to get a win."
Steve Pearce knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, while Adam Jones and Wilson Betemit had two hits apiece for the Orioles, who had their five-game winning streak halted.
Brian Matusz (5-7) took the loss after yielding four runs on nine hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Trailing 2-1 after five innings, the Braves took the lead for good with three runs in the sixth. Matt Diaz reached with a one-out single and Simmons brought him home when he squared up a fastball from Matusz and sent it just clear of the wall in left-center field with two down. Bourn capped the inning with a seeing-eye RBI base hit up the middle.
"I was one good pitch away from getting out of the sixth and giving our team a chance to win," remarked Matusz. "This is the big leagues, make bad pitches and guys will hurt you. The Braves are a great hitting team and they took advantage of the mistakes today."
Betemit started the Baltimore ninth with a base hit, but Craig Kimbrel fanned Pearce and got pinch-hitter Nick Johnson to ground into a game-ending double play to finish off his 19th save of the season.
Earlier, Atlanta jumped on top with a run in its first at-bat when McCann got a fastball out over the plate from Matusz and smashed it over the wall in right-center field for his ninth home run of the season.
The Orioles had a golden chance to get on the board in the second when they loaded the bases with two outs on a double by Jones and a pair of walks to Mark Reynolds and Pearce, but Hanson got Matusz to ground into a fielder's choice to keep the Braves ahead.
Baltimore loaded the bags again in its next at-bat on a Brian Roberts single and walks to Chris Davis and Jones, but Matt Wieters grounded into an inning- ending 6-4-3 double play.
The O's put up two unearned runs in the fourth. Reynolds began the inning by reaching base a wild throw by Simmons. Reynolds touched home on a double by Betemit, who advanced to third on a throwing error by Bourn and scored via a Pearce sacrifice fly.
Atlanta leads the all-time series, 20-14...Prior to Friday's game, the Braves designated pitcher Livan Hernandez for assignment and recalled pitcher Kris Medlen from Triple-A Gwinnett. Medlen allowed one hit over two scoreless innings of work...Baltimore went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven...The O's grounded into four double plays.