Bucs falter after Braves rally late
By George Henry
The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman hit a tiebreaking, RBI single in the four-run eighth inning, and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves rallied to snap a three-game skid and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 on Saturday night.
The Braves increased their division lead by three games over Philadelphia. They had dropped five of six overall and seven of eight at home.
After Dansby Swanson’s 14th homer cut the lead to 3-2, pinch-hitter Lucas Duda doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Lane Adams, who advanced to third on Ronald Acuna Jr.’s sacrifice fly.
Adams scored when Ender Inciarte reached safely after striking out on a wild pitch. Inciartie scored on Freeman’s double, and Freeman advanced to third on a single and slid safely across the plate to beat a tag attempt on Johan Camargo’s sacrifice fly.
All four runs were charged to Keone Kela (3-4), who had allowed just one run in his first 14 games, a stretch of 14 innings, with Pittsburgh.
Jonny Venters (2-0) got the win after facing two batters in the eighth. Braves closer A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the ninth to earn his 12th save in 14 chances.
Pirates starter Chris Archer did not allow a hit until the sixth inning and led 3-0 after Starling Marte’s two-run double in the fifth and Gregory Polanco’s 22nd homer in the sixth off Braves starter Kevin Gausman.
Archer faced the minimum before walking Acuna to begin the fourth. He retired the next six batters before Dansby Swanson doubled to begin the sixth, Acuna followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-1.
Archer gave up two hits, one run and one walk in six innings. He struck out five.
A throwing error by second baseman Charlie Culberson helped the Pirates take a 2-0 lead.
Colin Moran singled and advanced to third when Culberson fielded a grounder and tried to make a backhand flip to Swanson to begin a double play. The ball rolled into right field, and Marte, two batters later, doubled off the right-field wall.
Polanco’s homer put Pittsburgh up 3-0 in the sixth.
Gausman allowed five hits and three runs — one earned — with no walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Gausman’s streak of 19 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings ended when Marte made it 2-0.
Archer had struggled since getting acquired in a July 31 with Tampa Bay, going 1-2 with a 6.45 ERA in five starts and allowing seven hits and six runs and two walks in losing his last start 7-4 at Milwaukee.
Acuna hit .336 with 11 homers and 21 RBIs in August and became the first NL rookie in the last 110 seasons with 39 hits and 11 homers in a calendar month. … Camargo leads the Braves with 50 RBIs since the start of June. … Marte went 2 for 4 and has hit .400 in hitting safely in eight straight games. … Of Polanco’s 76 RBIs, 74 have come as a right fielder, the most Pittsburgh has gotten at that position since Jose Guillen drove in 83 in 1998.