Braves rally past Cubs, notch 10th win of year

Associated Press • Apr 19, 2007 at 12:27 PM

ATLANTA - Jeff Francoeur hit a three-run homer, Kelly Johnson added a clutch two-run single and the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 8-6 Wednesday night.

Johnson hit a two-out single in the seventh to drive in two and put Atlanta up 7-6. Edgar Renteria added another run-scoring single off Scott Eyre (0-1) to give the Braves a two-run lead.

Bob Wickman got three outs for his fifth save in as many chances.

Carlos Zambrano struggled again for the Cubs. He walked five, hit a batter with a pitch and allowed eight hits and five runs in six innings. He gave up six runs in the fifth inning of a 6-5 loss to Cincinnati on Friday.

The Cubs were trailing 5-4 when Zambrano left the game but they pushed across two runs against Oscar Villarreal (1-0) in the top of the seventh to take the lead.

Scott Thorman also homered for the Braves.

Mark DeRosa's first-inning homer gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead but Atlanta scored four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by Francoeur's third drive of the season.

Kyle Davies gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings for Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Willy Aybar's status with the Braves remained uncertain when the utility infielder didn't join the team.

Aybar, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right hand, was suspended for three games after he did not show up for treatment. The suspension was due to end Wednesday, but Aybar was still missing.

MIAMI - John Maine took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and the New York Mets scored four times before Dontrelle Willis retired a batter.

Miguel Cabrera's sharp single broke up Maine's bid to become the first Mets pitcher to throw a no-hitter. Three batters later, Joe Borchard hit a two-run homer.

Maine (2-0) struck out seven and walked four in seven innings. Aaron Sele and Aaron Heilman completed the three-hitter.

David Wright, who went 2-for-5, singled in the second inning to extend his career-best hitting streak to 25 games, a franchise record over two seasons for the Mets. Hubie Brooks (1984) and Mike Piazza (1999) share the one-season record of 24 games in a row.

Willis (3-1) failed in his bid to become the first four-game winner in the majors. He allowed 10 hits and eight runs, seven earned, in five innings. The left-hander fell to 12-2 in April and 11-3 against the Mets.

Carlos Beltran homered and drove in three runs for New York. Jose Reyes went 4-for-6 and scored twice.

CINCINNATI - Jason Lane hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, completing a rally that lifted Houston over Cincinnati.

Down 2-1, the Astros scored five times in the eighth against a bullpen that hadn't surrendered a lead so late.

Not surprisingly, Lance Berkman was a big part of the Astros' comeback for their sixth victory in seven games. Berkman, who has had some of his biggest games against the Reds, singled home the tying run with two outs off Todd Coffey (1-1).

After pinch-hitter Mark Loretta gave Houston a 3-2 lead with a single off Rheal Cormier, Lane hit the left-hander's first pitch into the seats in left field for his third homer.

The rally started when Coffey hit Orlando Palmeiro, who was pinch-hitting for starter Chris Sampson (2-0). Coffey has hit three batters in his last three appearances, playing a key role in a pair of losses.

It was a rousing start to an unusual trip for the Astros - nine games in four cities. They play two in Cincinnati, three in Milwaukee, one in Philadelphia and three in Pittsburgh.

Until the late meltdown, the Reds were in position for another win behind starter Aaron Harang, who beat the Astros in all four of his starts last season and was ahead 2-1 when he left the game after the sixth.

Sampson gave up five hits in seven innings, including solo homers by Brandon Phillips and Josh Hamilton.

The 25-year-old Hamilton has been so sensational during his comeback from drug addiction that manager Jerry Narron reconfigured his lineup this week to keep Hamilton on the field.

Hamilton's homer was his fourth in only 24 at-bats, the latest sign that the former No. 1 overall draft pick is rounding into form after more than three years away from the game.

WASHINGTON - Felipe Lopez's sacrifice fly off Francisco Rosario in the 13th inning gave Washington the win.

The Phillies, who were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, dropped to an NL-worst 3-10, a game behind the Nationals (5-10) in the NL East.

Rosario (0-1) was the 15th pitcher to enter the game, the seventh for the Phillies. He began the bottom of the 13th by giving up a single to Chris Snelling, followed by a double to Michael Restovich, called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day.

That brought up Lopez, who lofted a ball to left field that was deep enough to score Snelling, ending the game after 4 hours, 16 minutes.

Levale Speigner (1-0) earned his first major league victory with a perfect 13th.

MILWAUKEE - Claudio Vargas struck out a career-high 11 over six innings and Bill Hall drove in three runs to lead the Brewers to the win.

Vargas (1-0) worked in and out of trouble all night, highlighted by a 28-pitch fourth inning that ended with him striking out the side. While Hall provided the biggest sparks on offense, he also continued to struggle in center field, committing his fourth error this season.

Vargas wasn't fazed, and finished his evening with two strikeouts - Xavier Nady for the second time and Ronny Paulino for the third time - to end the sixth.

Jason Bay hit a solo drive in the second, the 100th of his career and 99th with Pittsburgh.

Paul Maholm (0-2), who hadn't pitched in a game in a week, gave up 10 hits and five runs in six innings.

DENVER - Yorvit Torrealba hit a go-ahead, two-run single and the Rockies took advantage of a shaky outing by Derek Lowe.

Matt Holliday went 3-for-4 with a double and Brad Hawpe had two hits and two walks for the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki added a two-out, two-run single in the seventh.

Lowe (2-2) was pulled after 4 2-3 innings. He gave up four earned runs and eight hits, the last a liner up the middle off the bat of Hawpe which caused Lowe to hit the ground in a hurry to avoid being struck.

Colorado starter Rodrigo Lopez left with tightness in his right elbow after pitching four innings.

Taylor Buchholz (1-0) pitched two innings, giving up four hits and one run, for his first win since July 6 for Houston against St. Louis.

OAKLAND, Calif. - Dan Haren outpitched John Lackey for his first win of the season and Eric Chavez drove in two runs to help the Oakland Athletics beat the injury-depleted Angels, handing Los Angeles its sixth straight loss.

Nick Swisher also drove in a run for the A's, who have won three in a row for the first time this year.

The Angels' offensive woes continued without their top two hitters - Vladimir Guerrero and Howie Kendrick.

Haren (1-2) allowed four hits in seven sharp innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out three in a game that took just 2 hours, 9 minutes. Huston Street earned his fourth save, completing the five-hitter.

Lackey (2-2) lost to the A's for only the third time in 20 career starts. He allowed three runs over seven innings.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Erik Bedard won his third straight start, Kevin Millar hit a tiebreaking double and Baltimore beat Tampa Bay.

Millar's fifth-inning double off Gary Glover (0-1) gave Baltimore a 4-3 lead. Millar then scored to make it 5-3 when Jon Knott, who singled, was tagged out in a rundown between first and second.

Nick Markakis homered for the Orioles, who won twice in the three-game series. Baltimore is 8-4 since being swept in a season-opening three-game series at Minnesota.

Bedard (3-1) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out eight. Chris Ray fanned all three batters in the ninth for his fifth save.

Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir departed after throwing 100 pitches through four innings. Rocco Baldelli hit a leadoff homer for the Devil Rays.

DETROIT - John Buck hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning and Kansas City rallied past Detroit to end its six-game losing streak.

Gil Meche did not allow an earned run in eight innings for the Royals, who fell behind 3-0 in the sixth. But Mike Sweeney hit a RBI single in the seventh and Kansas City tied it with two runs in the ninth against closer Todd Jones.

It was the first blown save in eight chances this year for Jones, who gave up his first runs of the season.

One inning later, Buck hit a 2-0 pitch from Fernando Rodney (1-3) into the left-field seats. Joakim Soria (1-0) struck out four in two scoreless innings for his first major league win.

Jeremy Bonderman allowed one run in seven innings for the Tigers.

NEW YORK - New York's Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading ninth homer and Kei Igawa limited Cleveland to a pair of runs over six innings.

Jason Giambi also homered for the Yankees (7-6), who matched their season high of one game over .500.

A-Rod hit a two-run drive in the sixth off reliever Tom Mastny, connecting for the second straight night. Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 23 RBIs, matched Albert Pujols and Chris Shelton (both last year) for the fourth-fastest to nine homers, trailing only Mike Schmidt (10 games in 1976), Luis Gonzalez (10 in 2001) and Larry Walker (12 in 1997).

Rodriguez had been 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before the drive to left, which extended his regular-season hitting streak to 18 games dating to last year. After the trip around the bases, he exchanged laughs with Derek Jeter in the dugout and came out for a curtain call. A-Rod has an extra-base hit in 12 of 13 games this season and is batting .365.

New York has outscored Cleveland 19-5 and outhit the Indians 24-10 in the opening two games of the three-game series.

A night after Chase Wright won 10-3 in his big league debut after getting an 8-1 lead in the second, Igawa (1-0) was handed a 6-2 lead in the third. A veteran of eight seasons in Japan's Central League, the 27-year-old left-hander didn't get decisions in his first two starts, pitching poorly against Baltimore but well at Oakland.

TORONTO - David Ortiz homered and Tim Wakefield allowed four hits in seven innings, leading Boston over the Blue Jays.

Mike Lowell and Doug Mirabelli also homered for the Red Sox. Wakefield (2-1) struck out four, walked three and lowered his ERA to 1.35. The 40-year-old knuckleballer has allowed only three earned runs in 20 innings.

Brendan Donnelly worked a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his third save, striking out pinch-hitter Adam Lind with two on to end it.

Toronto starter Tomo Ohka didn't allow a hit until Lowell homered to left with two outs in the fifth, his first of the season.

Mirabelli led off the sixth with his second home run, and Ortiz opened the seventh with his fifth.

One out later, J.D. Drew chased Ohka with a single. Victor Zambrano came on and gave up a single to Lowell, a fielder's-choice grounder to Coco Crisp and an RBI single to Mirabelli.

Ohka (0-2) allowed four runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Matt Stairs singled off Wakefield in the first, but the knuckleballer responded by retiring 10 straight batters before stumbling in the fourth. With two outs, he loaded the bases with consecutive walks to Frank Thomas, Lyle Overbay and Aaron Hill. Wakefield escaped by striking out Jason Phillips on four pitches.

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