Brandon Beachy turned in another solid performance, but the Atlanta Braves usually reliable bullpen was unable to hold a one-run lead as the Baltimore Orioles were able to defeat the Braves 5-4 in the final game of a three-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field.
Coming off a career-high nine strikeout performance against Seattle in his last game, Beachy pitched five quality innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out six. .
"I just wasn't very good with any of my pitches," Beachy said after the game. "I wasn't locating my fastball, couldn't get my offspeed pitches to break and I just left everything up."
The Orioles offense struck first when starting pitcher Zach Britton hit his first career home run, a solo shot, in the third inning. Britton's home run was followed by a sacrifice fly by Mark Reynolds, scoring J.J. Hardy. After a Nick Markakis RBI double in the fifth inning pushed Baltimore's lead to 3-0, Atlanta responded with a four-run sixth inning to take the lead.
All-Star reserve Chipper Jones began the inning with a walk and was followed by a single by 2011 All-Star starter Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman then began the rally with an RBI single, scoring Jones from second.
After Dan Uggla flied out, Nate Mclouth singled to load the bases. With the bases loaded, former Oriole Julio Lugo grounded out to the shortstop, scoring McCann from third and bringing the Braves within one. Manager Freddie Gonzalez then called on the Braves most consistent pinch hitter Eric Hinske to hit for pitcher George Sherrill and keep the rally alive. Hinske did not disappoint as he hit a two-run single to give the braves a 4-3 lead.
However, Baltimore answered quickly in the top of the seventh when Reynolds hit his 18th home run of the season off of relief pitcher Scott Proctor. The two-run blast gave the Orioles a 5-4 lead and would prove to the eventual game-winnning hit, dropping Atlanta's record to 49-36.
The Braves will host the Colorado Rockies on Monday, July 4 in a matchup between last season's breakout star Ubaldo Jimenez (3-7, 4.35 ERA) and young ace Tommy Hanson (9-4, 2.62 ERA) at 7:10 p.m.
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