Atlanta Braves hang on after David Ross' grand slam against Baltimore Orioles

AP Sports WriterJuly 3, 2011 

ATLANTA -- David Ross got a rare start in place of All-Star catcher Brian McCann on Saturday night. Ross said his basic plan was “OK, don’t mess this up.”

Mission accomplished, and then some.

Ross hit his second career grand slam, and the Atlanta Braves held on for a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

McCann is batting .386 with five homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games, and Ross said taking that bat out of the middle of the lineup “is a tough thing to do.” Ross said he takes pride in playing well enough in his few starts so McCann can take the full day off.

Tim Hudson overcame a first-inning fall to pitch six innings and Jordan Schafer made a couple of nice plays in center field, helping Atlanta to its fifth consecutive win and 10th in its last 12 games overall.

Mark Reynolds hit two first-pitch homers for Baltimore, including a two-run shot to center field in the fourth. Reynolds’ 17th homer landed about 10 rows deep in the left-field seats in the sixth.

Nick Markakis’ seventh-inning homer off Scott Linebrink trimmed Atlanta’s lead to 5-4, but the Orioles (35-45) couldn’t complete the rally. They have lost five straight and are 10 games below .500 for the first time this season.

Markakis finished with three hits one day after his career-best 19-game hitting streak came to an end.

The Braves scored all their runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a key mistake by Luke Scott. Dan Uggla hit a sinking liner to left with two out but Scott dropped it. Uggla was awarded an RBI single.

“That’s a tough play, either way, but that’s not what beat us,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.

After Jake Arrieta (9-5) walked Nate McLouth to load the bases, Ross hit a drive into the left-field seats to give Atlanta a 5-2 lead. It was Ross’ fourth homer of the season.

“He’s great,” said Hudson, who also played with Ross at Auburn University. “Back at Auburn, he had a knack for hitting big homers. It’s happened so far here.”

Arrieta said Ross hit a fastball “right in the middle” of the plate.

“I got two quick outs,” Arrieta said of the inning. “Had a guy 0-2. Then everything fell apart.

“It’s a terrible feeling. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.”

In his first at-bat, Ross surprised Arrieta and the Orioles with a bunt single.

Baltimore had runners on second and third with two out in the eighth, but Markakis flied out to left against Eric O’Flaherty. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Hudson (7-6) wasn’t sharp but was helped by two impressive grabs by Schafer. After hauling in Reynolds’ drive at the wall in the second, Schafer made an over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track on J.J. Hardy’s fly ball in the fifth.

Hudson gave up three runs and eight hits, struck out six and walked three.

Arrieta pitched five innings for the Orioles, yielding five runs and six hits.

Hudson’s night began with an unexpected tumble off the mound. His cleats stuck in the dirt as he was starting to deliver his third pitch to leadoff hitter Hardy. He kept the ball as he landed sideways, then tumbled onto the grass.

Hudson, grinning and obviously embarrassed, tipped his cap to the fans in a self-effacing manner as third baseman Chipper Jones held his glove over his face to hide his laughter.

“I looked like a big stooge out there,” Hudson said. “Something like that, you have to laugh about it.”

Hudson regrouped to strike out Hardy and he continued to smile -- especially when looking over at Jones -- the rest of the inning.

“I’ve never been more embarrassed for a teammate than when he fell before a sellout crowd on fireworks night,” Ross said.

There was rain, but play continued, in the final two innings. There was a brief delay in the middle of the eighth as dry dirt was applied to the pitcher’s mound and around home plate.

Notes: The Braves optioned RHP Cristhian Martinez to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled RHP Cory Gearrin for the third time this season. ... Ross hit his only other grand slam on Aug. 31, 2010, against the Mets. ... The Orioles fell to 6-11 in interleague play and 4-14 in their last 18 road games.

Baltimore AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Hardy ss 5 0 0 0 0 3 .291

Markakis rf 5 1 3 1 0 0 .285

Ad.Jones cf 5 0 2 0 0 1 .288

Wieters c 5 0 2 0 0 0 .262

1-Guthrie pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200

D.Lee 1b 4 0 2 0 1 0 .245

Scott lf 3 1 0 0 0 1 .227

c-Reimold ph-lf 1 0 0 0 0 0 .275

e-Pie ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .239

Mar.Reynolds 3b 4 2 2 3 0 1 .228

B.Davis 2b 2 0 1 0 2 1 .333

Arrieta p 2 0 0 0 0 1 .250

a-Guerrero ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .278

Bergesen p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

M.Gonzalez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

d-Andino ph 1 0 1 0 0 0 .258

Uehara p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Totals 39 4 13 4 3 9

Atlanta AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Schafer cf 4 0 0 0 0 1 .224

Ale.Gonzalez ss 4 0 0 0 0 0 .240

Heyward rf 4 0 1 0 0 1 .234

C.Jones 3b 3 1 2 0 1 1 .257

Freeman 1b 3 1 0 0 0 3 .267

Uggla 2b 4 1 1 1 0 1 .177

McLouth lf 2 1 1 0 1 0 .232

D.Ross c 3 1 2 4 0 1 .305

T.Hudson p 1 0 0 0 0 0 .067

b-Conrad ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .250

Linebrink p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

O’Flaherty p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Kimbrel p 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

Totals 29 5 7 5 2 8

@z-bb-exp-innings:Baltimore 000 201 100--4 13 1

Atlanta 000 500 00x--5 7 0

a-flied out for Arrieta in the 6th. b-grounded into a fielder’s choice for T.Hudson in the 6th. c-flied out for Scott in the 7th. d-singled for M.Gonzalez in the 8th. e-struck out for Reimold in the 9th. 1-ran for Wieters in the 9th. E--Mar.Reynolds (19). LOB--Baltimore 11, Atlanta 4. 2B--C.Jones (21). HR--Mar.Reynolds 2 (17), off T.Hudson 2; Markakis (7), off Linebrink; D.Ross (4), off Arrieta. RBIs--Markakis (32), Mar.Reynolds 3 (43), Uggla (29), D.Ross 4 (14). CS--B.Davis (1), D.Ross (1). S--T.Hudson. Runners left in scoring position--Baltimore 4 (Wieters, D.Lee, Markakis 2); Atlanta 1 (Freeman).

Runners moved up--Hardy.

Baltimore IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Arrieta L, 9-5 5 6 5 5 2 5 71 4.74

Bergesen 12/3 1 0 0 0 1 21 5.43

M.Gonzalez 1/3 0 0 0 0 0 2 5.34

Uehara 1 0 0 0 0 2 15 2.19

Atlanta IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

T.Hudson W, 7-6 6 8 3 3 3 6 90 3.57

Linebrink H, 6 2/3 2 1 1 0 0 17 3.55

O’Flaherty H, 16 11/3 2 0 0 0 1 27 1.16

Kimbrel S, 24-29 1 1 0 0 0 2 11 2.57

Inherited runners-scored--O’Flaherty 1-0. HBP--by Arrieta (Freeman). Umpires--Home, Tim McClelland; First, Mark Ripperger; Second, Marvin Hudson; Third, Brian Runge. T--2:42. A--37,259 (49,586).

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service