The Orioles used a double and two Braves errors to get two runs in the top of the fourth at Atlanta tonight to take a 2-1 lead after three and a half innings.
That followed some frustration on offense tonight in the early innings in Atlanta. They hit three rockets off Tommy Hanson in the top of the first, but one went for a groundout and another, by Chris Davis, went for an inning-ending double play.
In the second, they got an Adam Jones double and two walks to load the bases, but then Brian Matusz came up and grounded out to end that inning.
They got a single and two walks to load the bases in the third, but Matt Wieters grounded into a 6-4-3, inning-ending double play. So the Orioles left five runners on base in three innings, four of them left in scoring position.
Meanwhile, Matusz gave up a solo homer to Brian McCann in the first, but got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third when he got Chipper Jones to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Brian Roberts made a very quick turn and throw in the middle of that to get a clutch double play.
When you think of Atlanta’s success over the years, you often think about their pitching, but this season the Braves offense has been better. While Atlanta ranks 11th in the National League in team ERA at 4.20, the Braves are third in the NL in runs, fifthin homers, sixth in OPS and eighth in batting average.
Atlanta began tonight at 34-29, in third in the NL East, five games out of first place. The Braves have lost four in a row by a combined scored of 24-10.
The Orioles enter tonight at 37-26 and are 8-3 over the last 11 games after going 2-9 over the previous 11. They are 14-19 all-time against Atlanta but have lost the season series seven of the past eight years.
Braves win 4-2: Atlanta came up with three runs against Matusz in the last of the sixth to take a 4-2 win in this series opener. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons gave the Braves a 3-2 lead with a two-run homer.
The Orioles fall to 37-27 as their five-game win streak ended. Coupled with New York’s win over Washington, the Orioles are now a game and a half out in the AL East.
Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.22 ERA) faces Brandon Beachy (5-4, 1.98 ERA) on Saturday night in Atlanta.