Pirates lose fourth straight

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jeff Francoeur is having an easy time getting used to life in the big leagues batting in the Atlanta Braves' lineup.

Batting sixth Saturday night, Francoeur homered and drove in four runs, and the Braves used a seven-run sixth inning to rally past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6, their fifth straight victory.

"When you've got guys like Andruw [Jones], Chipper [Jones], Julio [Franco] and Marcus [Giles] in front of you, you have some RBI chances," Francoeur said. "A pitcher doesn't want to pitch to those guys. He'd rather pitch to a rookie any day."

Francoeur's two-run double started the scoring in the sixth and gave the Braves their first lead at 4-3. Johnny Estrada and Kelly Johnson followed with RBI doubles to chase Mark Redman (5-11) with none out.

Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon brought in Brian Meadows, who allowed pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit's single, Rafael Furcal's
sacrifice fly, Giles' RBI triple and Chipper Jones' sacrifice fly to end the scoring and make it 9-3.

The Braves, who increased their NL East lead to five games over Washington and Florida, hadn't scored so many runs in an inning since Aug. 22, 2004, when they had an eight-run second at Los Angeles.

Pittsburgh has lost four straight and is a season-worst 16 games under .500.

Francoeur, an Atlanta native who starred at Parkview High School in nearby Lilburn, hit his sixth homer, a two-run shot, to make it 3-2 in the fourth. The 21-year-old right fielder, drafted No. 23 overall in 2002, went back to basics after grounding into a double play in the second.

He showed why he's hitting .406 with 16 RBI in 42 at-bats.

"The first at-bat I was trying to go out and get everything instead of trusting my hands," Francoeur said.

Describing the homer, Francoeur added, "That's what happens when you trust your hands."

Braves reliever Dan Kolb was booed in the eighth after he relieved Blaine Boyer and allowed Matt Lawton's RBI single, Jason Bay's RBI single and Freddy Sanchez's RBI groundout to make it 9-6.

Kyle Davies (5-3) earned the win after being recalled from Triple-A Richmond earlier in the day. The 21-year-old right-hander, who allowed two hits, three runs, three walks and a career-high eight strikeouts, trailed 3-0 after Bay hit his 19th homer in the first.

"I was kind of excited out there in the first inning, and I tried to throw the ball through the stadium," Davies said. "Johnny came out there and said, 'Man, just settle down and throw strikes. We'll get through it.' I trusted him and trusted my stuff, and from there on out I did pretty good."

The damage could've been worse after Bay's homer. Davies, a native of nearby Decatur, escaped more trouble with a 3-1 count on Jose Castillo and Daryle Ward on first. Castillo took an inside pitch that he and Ward apparently thought was a ball, but instead of waiting for umpire C.B. Bucknor's call he laid down his bat and jogged to first.

Seeing that Ward had left first base prematurely, Davies quickly threw to Franco. Davies tagged out Ward. He then struck out Castillo to end the 36-pitch inning.

"I've seen a lot of errors, but I'd never seen that before," McClendon said. "It took us out of a possible big inning and possibly getting a new pitcher."

Chris Reitsma pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 17 opportunities, setting a single-season career high.

Redman lost his sixth straight on the road. Falling to 0-6 with a 6.62 ERA in his last nine starts away from Pittsburgh, the left-hander allowed seven runs, 10 hits, three walks and struck out three. A strained neck didn't help.

"I was battling all night long, really," Redman said. "I wasn't as concerned about my losing streak on the road as I was my stiff neck."

Game notes
One night after right-hander Jay Powell broke his elbow, Atlanta trainer Jeff Porter returned to the mound in the seventh to escort rookie Boyer off the field with a lower back strain. Boyer said he was fine. ... Franco singled in the second for his 2,500th career hit. ... The Braves' last seven-run inning came June 27, 2004, at Baltimore, when they rallied for an 8-7 win. ... A crowd of 47,441 was Atlanta's 12th sellout of the season. ... In the sixth, the Braves batted around for the 16th time this year.