Reynolds’ HR Lifts Orioles Past Braves, 5-4
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ATLANTA (AP) — Mark Reynolds was upset rookie pitcher Zach Britton made hitting a homer look so easy.
Reynolds shouldn’t be upset. His homer was longer and meant more.
Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, Nick Markakis had a career-high five hits and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on Sunday to end their five-game losing streak.
Britton gave up three runs in five-plus innings and had two hits, including his first career homer.
“It kind of ticks you off as a position player to watch a pitcher get hits like it’s nothing,” said Reynolds of Britton, who is hitting .625 with five hits in eight at-bats in interleague play.
Jim Johnson (5-1) gave up one run in two innings.
Reynolds also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third. He had two homers in the Orioles’ 5-4 loss to the Braves on Saturday night.
Markakis hit a one-out single off Scott Proctor (1-2) in the seventh before Reynolds smashed the go-ahead homer, his 18th, into the left-field seats. Nate McLouth barely moved in left field as he watched the homer.
Markakis said “it’s definitely fun” watching Reynolds find his home run swing.
“He’s a big ol’ boy up there,” Markakis said. “If he gets into one, it goes a long way.”
Markakis had a run-scoring double in the sixth. He had three hits in Saturday night’s loss after his 19-game hitting streak ended Friday night.
The Braves had their five-game winning streak snapped and were denied their third straight interleague sweep.
Kevin Gregg pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
Gregg struck out Chipper Jones to end the game. Jones started to walk to first base on what he thought was ball four. Jones also took Gregg’s next pitch as home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger called strike three on a pitch that appeared to be off the plate.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re not allowed to do your job,” Jones said. “But I’ve said time and time again, the officiating in this league is substandard. For the most part.”
“If a guy’s not doing his job, I’m going to say something. If I get fined, I get fined. I don’t care. I’m a competitor. … I know they’re balls. I’ve been here 18 years. I know when a guy’s trying to pitch around me.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez also criticized Ripperger’s calls.
“I came back in here and looked at the video,” Gonzalez said. “I thought they were awful. I thought the balls were away. Not even close. It’s hard to swallow, to lose a game on those two balls like that.”
Britton was pulled after giving up a walk and two hits, including Freddie Freeman’s RBI single, to open the Braves’ four-run sixth. Johnson gave up a single to McLouth to load the bases.
Julio Lugo’s groundout drove in Brian McCann before pinch-hitter Eric Hinske’s two-run single off Johnson gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead.
Britton gave up three runs and six hits and three walks in five-plus innings. The rookie left-hander’s highlight was his first career homer off Brian Beachy in the third. Britton also had an infield single.
The Braves loaded the bases with one out in the fifth but couldn’t score. Lugo walked, pinch-hitter Wilkin Ramirez singled to left and Jordan Schafer reached on a bunt single before Jason Heyward hit into a double play to end the inning.
Beachy gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out six, including five in the first two innings.
McCann, who was selected as the NL’s All-Star starting catcher, had two hits. He just missed a homer in the seventh when his long fly ball hit off the top of the right-field wall. Markakis fielded the bounce off the wall and threw out McCann at second base.
McLouth gave Baltimore reliever Koji Uehara a scare in the eighth when his long fly ball to right field was caught by Markakis at the wall.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)