First-place Braves collect fourth straight victory

ATLANTA (AP) -- Another win and yet another rookie stepped up for
the Atlanta Braves.

This time it was left-handed reliever Macay McBride, who earned
his first career save by getting out of a jam in the ninth inning.

Chipper Jones drove in both Atlanta runs with a two-run single
in the seventh and Horacio Ramirez allowed six hits over eight
innings to help the Braves win their fourth straight, 2-1 over the
Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

McBride came on with the bases loaded and one out, struck out
pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit and got Tike Redman on a bouncer to

"He was amazing," Ramirez said. "The most impressive thing
was that he remained cool. He's been up here what, 10 days, [since
July 21] and you'd never know it. He did the job."

McBride was one of nine rookies on Atlanta's roster Friday
night. The Braves have had as many as 10 at one time and all have

Atlanta, coming off a three-game sweep of Washington, increased
its NL East lead to four games by winning their fourth straight
one-run game. The Nationals lost 4-3 to Florida on Friday night.

"You're always concerned about a letdown, but we've been
playing good and having fun," Jones said. "We had chances but
couldn't get the big hit. Finally, we got it in the seventh. I
swung the bat good tonight and came up with the big hit."

Trailing 1-0 entering the seventh, the Braves rallied off
Pittsburgh starter Dave Williams (8-8) when Rafael Furcal led off
with a single and took third on a double by Marcus Giles. Jones
followed with the single to left that easily scored both runners.

The multi-RBI game was the first for Jones since he came off the
DL on July 18.

"I've been struggling just trying to get my timing back," said
Jones, who is playing on a foot that is still sore.

Ramirez (9-6) walked one and struck out three. The Braves used
four pitchers in the ninth.

Jay Powell started the ninth but his second pitch sailed 15 high
and wide of the plate and he fell to the ground, holding his right
elbow and writhing in pain. X-rays showed a severe elbow injury,
Braves officials said.

Powell underwent transplant surgery on the elbow on July 8,

"He was in tremendous pain," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.
"He could barely walk the pain in his elbow was so severe. It's
sort of a bittersweet win tonight."

John Foster came on with a 1-1 count and walked pinch-hitter Rob
Mackowiak. Jim Brower relieved and gave up a double to Jason Bay
that sent Mackowiak to third. Brower then struck out Bradley Eldred
and walked Jose Castillo intentionally to load the bases.

That brought on McBride for his fourth appearance and he got the
job done.

"My heart was racing, but when I got to the mound, it's a
familiar place and you just have to pitch," he said. "I'm not
saying I didn't have butterflies. I've had them in high school, 'A'
ball and here. My feeling is if you don't have them, you might as
well hang them up.

"It's just nervous energy. I'm excited to be out there. The
bases loaded is a challenge and this time it worked out," he said.

Pittsburgh scored in the sixth when Jack Wilson led off with a
single, took second on a sacrifice by Williams, moved to third on a
single by Matt Lawson and came across on a sacrifice fly by Freddy

It was Pittsburgh's third straight loss after winning three in a

"We had opportunities to win. We just didn't come through. They
executed. We didn't," Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Williams allowed eight hits and two runs, walked five and struck
out three in six innings. He left in the seventh after the three
straight hits.

"I tried to get us through the seventh and didn't," he said.
"I thought I was in control of the game, but I got burned in the

Game notes
After the game, the Braves placed Powell on the 15-day DL
and recalled RHP Roman Colon from Triple-A Richmond. Kyle Davies,
who will start Saturday, was also recalled from Richmond and C
Brayan Pena was optioned to Richmond. ... Williams' left index
finger was hit when he fouled off a bunt attempt in the sixth. He
did successfully sacrifice, then had the finger wrapped in the
dugout. He retired the Braves in the bottom of the inning without
any problem. Williams said his finger was fine. "It didn't have
anything to do with me being up in the zone [his last inning]."
... Williams got away with a mental mistake in the third. With two
outs, Chipper Jones singled and stole second on the first pitch to
Andruw Jones when Williams wound up instead of pitching from the
stretch. Andruw Jones was then intentionally walked and Julio
Franco drew a walk, loading the bases. Williams, however, struck
out Jeff Francoeur to escape the jam. ... Franco needs just one hit
to become the 80th major leaguer with 2,500. ... Braves RHP John
Thompson, on the DL since May 17 with a strained flexor tendon in
his right middle finger, threw four scoreless innings Friday night
at Single-A Rome in his second rehab appearance.