LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29: Pitcher Brian Burres #71 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch against Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the baseball game on April 29, 2010 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Burres Solid, Walker Homers In 3-1 Pirates Win

The Pirates will try to knock the Braves into a tie for first place this afternoon.

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Brian Burres Allows One Run Over Six Frames In Spot Start

Sports Network | September 6, 2010

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Neil Walker’s two-run homer in the sixth inning proved to be the difference, as the Pittsburgh Pirates edged the Atlanta Braves, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game set at PNC Park.

Jose Tabata added a single, RBI and scored a run for Pittsburgh, which had dropped seven of nine entering the contest.

Brian Burres (3-3), starting for Jeff Karstens, who was unable to go due to right shoulder soreness, gave his club a solid six-inning outing. The lefty yielded one run on five hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter in making his first start since May 29. Joel Hanrahan worked a scoreless ninth to record his fourth save of the season.

“I can’t say enough of the job he did out there today,” said Pirates manager John Russell about Burres. “He kept us in the game. We knew coming in facing the three pitchers we’re going to face that it’s going to be tough and he did a great job for us.”

Derrek Lee went 2-for-3 with a run scored on his 35th birthday, while David Ross supplied the only offense with a sacrifice fly for the Braves, who have lost four of five, but still sit atop the National League East now by only a half-game over Philadelphia. The Phillies dropped the opener of a day/night doubleheader to Florida on Monday, but then won the nightcap at Citizens Bank Park.

Tommy Hanson (9-11) suffered the loss after allowing three runs — two earned — on four hits and a pair of walks in six innings. The right-hander struck out four.

“We had some hits and we had some runners,” said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. “We just didn’t get the big hit to get back in the game. We thought we were going to get it just about every inning but it never happened.”

Tabata’s RBI groundout in the first scored Andrew McCutchen, who led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on an error by catcher Ross, giving the Pirates an early lead.

The Braves loaded the bases with nobody out in the second and pulled even on Ross’ sac fly. Burres worked out of further damage by retiring the next two hitters.

Starting pitching limited the offensive chances, but Lee and Matt Diaz reached on back-to-back two-out singles in the sixth. After a brief mound visit by Pirates manager John Russell, Burres stayed in and got Alex Gonzalez to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

In the home sixth, Tabata led off with a single and scored when Walker hammered a fastball over the fence in straightaway center to put the Pirates up 3-1. It gave Walker a 13-game hitting streak.

Chris Resop took over for Burres in the seventh and proceeded to load the bases with two outs on a single and two walks, but Martin Prado grounded out weakly to third to end the threat.

The Braves put runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth off Evan Meek, but again came up empty when Nate McLouth grounded out to first.

Hanrahan came on for the top of the ninth and gave up a two-out single to Jason Heyward before setting down Prado on a fly ball to right that ended the game.

Despite the loss, Atlanta has still won eight of the last 12 overall meetings between the teams…The Braves went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10, while Pittsburgh left only three men on base.


Braves Aim To Stay In First Place Against Pirates

Sports Network | September 6, 2010


(Sports Network) - A loss today could push the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves out of first place for the first time since May 30.

They probably couldn't be happier to see the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Atlanta aims to maintain its edge in the division standings and beat Pittsburgh for a sixth time in seven meetings this year when the two clubs start off a three-game set this afternoon at PNC Park.

Losses in three of four games following five straight victories, as well as an 8-9 stretch since Aug. 19, have the Braves just one game up on the Phillies for first place. They could have entered this series tied with Philadelphia atop the standings after a 7-6 setback to Florida on Sunday, but the Phils were also defeated yesterday.

However, the Phillies are scheduled to play a doubleheader with the Marlins today, so a loss by the Braves tonight and a sweep by the Phils would knock Atlanta out of the top spot.

A loss by the Braves doesn't seem likely, though, as they took two of three in Pittsburgh from May 21-23 before capping the month with a three-game sweep over the Pirates at home. Atlanta has won eight of the last 11 overall meetings between the teams.

The Braves rallied from a 6-0 deficit on Sunday, tying the game with a five- run sixth inning before Eric O'Flaherty served up the game-winning run in the 10th frame. Nate McLouth drove in three runs for Atlanta and nearly had more, as he was robbed of a grand slam in the sixth inning on a great defensive catch.

Braves starter Mike Minor gave up six runs over just four innings of work.

"Overall, I couldn't hit a spot." he said. "Everything was basically towards the middle of the plate, and it's easy enough to hit the ball when it's towards the middle of the plate."

Tommy Hanson hopes to join in on the Braves' success over the Pirates when he faces the club for the first time in his young career this afternoon.

The 24-year-old Hanson is coming off his first victory since July 3, as he ended an 0-5 stretch over 10 starts with a win over the Mets on Wednesday. He gave up just one hit and one walk over seven scoreless innings, striking out three while allowing a run or less for the sixth time in his last eight starts.

"My pitches felt really good," said Hanson. "I worked really hard in between starts trying to get my fastball command going. I felt like I did that [Wednesday]."

The right-hander aims for consecutive winning starts for the first time since a three-game win streak from May 26-June 5 and is 9-10 with a 3.60 ERA this season.

Hanson will face a Pirates club that managed just a solo homer out of Pedro Alvarez in Sunday's 8-1 setback to Washington, Pittsburgh's seventh loss in nine games. Neil Walker did add three hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, a span in which he is hitting .415 (22-for-53) with four homers and 14 RBI.

Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton lasted only 3 2/3 innings after yielding six runs -- two earned -- on eight hits with a pair of walks.

"A little more aggressive," Pirates manager John Russell said about Morton's outing. "For the most part I thought he was better. Still not where we'd like to get him, but it's a step in the right direction.

With Jeff Karstens unable to make the start tonight due to right shoulder soreness, Brian Burres will come out of the bullpen for the Pirates to his first start since May 29.

"It just doesn't feel right," Russell told Pittsburgh's website of Karstens shoulder. "It's been a long year for him, and it's a little cranky."

Burres faced the Braves in his last start, getting tagged for four runs over five innings to take the loss in his only career appearance against them. He was then demoted to the minors, but returned on Aug. 28.

The 29-year-old lefty has made four relief appearances since his return, allowing six runs over four innings. On the season, Burres is 2-3 with a 6.31 ERA in 14 games, including seven starts.

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