Adams hits 2-run HR to power Braves past Pirates, 5-2
ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Adams’ first home run with the Braves came down near the right-field restaurant that had been the landing spot for a few of Freddie Freeman’s long balls this season.
Adams was quick to say he’s not staking any claim to Freeman’s territory — in the stands or on the field.
The newcomer hit a two-run shot in his second start since being traded to Atlanta, Ender Inciarte had a career-high five hits and the Braves beat Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
“I think that’s Freddie’s spot,” Adams said of his homer. “I think I’ll leave that to him.”
Brandon Phillips added his 200th career homer for the Braves, who have won eight of 11.
Adams was acquired from St. Louis on Saturday as a fill-in for Freeman, expected to miss about 10 weeks with a broken left wrist. Freeman’s 14 homers before his injury were tied for most in the majors, making him a difficult act to follow.
“I feel good,” Adams said. “I’ve just got to continue trying to be myself and not try to do too much.”
Adams had two hits, including his fifth-inning homer high into the right-field seats for a 5-1 lead.
David Freese and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle were ejected by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi in the fourth. Freese didn’t like a called third strike by Cuzzi and, with John Jaso at the plate, was still yelling at the umpire from the bench when he was ejected. Hurdle then charged out of the dugout and was quickly tossed.
Freese said he thought he was ejected too quickly.
Mike Foltynewicz (3-4) allowed two runs, one earned, in five-plus innings to win his third straight start. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
Cole (2-5) gave up five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He had lasted at least six innings in eight straight starts and allowed no more than two earned runs in six consecutive starts.
Light rain began to fall in the fourth and continued the remainder of the game.
Andrew McCutchen hit into a double play in the fifth and was 0 for 4, dropping his batting average to .206.
Pirates: Mercer left in the seventh with right hand discomfort, two innings after Matt Kemp’s grounder hit his right hand. The shortstop was being examined and the team said he was day to day.
Braves: 3B Adonis Garcia (left Achilles tendon tendinitis) had no problems running and appears set to come off the 10-day disabled list Friday. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker indicated rookie 3B Rio Ruiz will remain on the roster when Garcia returns. Snitker said the two can share the position to help Garcia avoid aggravating the injury.
Snitker said Inciarte’s big game “is a week for a lot of people.” Hurdle also was impressed: “It doesn’t happen very often, not even in Little League,” he said.
Cole’s bad night started with Inciarte’s 11-pitch at-bat for a first-inning single. Cole threw 31 pitches in the inning. “I’ve never experienced one of those innings,” Cole said. “Good pitches, bad pitches, foul balls, close pitches . it was just one of those innings.”
First baseman James Loney was granted his requested release from the Braves’ Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate. The 33-year-old Loney signed a minor league deal with the team on Thursday after Freeman’s injury. Braves general manager John Coppolella said Saturday the club wouldn’t have signed Loney if it knew it would be able to trade for Adams.
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3) will try to improve his 7.34 ERA in his first career start against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP R.A. Dickey (3-4) will pitch on three days’ rest. Snitker wanted the knuckleballer to move up a spot so he would pitch between two hard-throwing right-handers, Foltynewicz and Julio Teheran, who is now scheduled for Wednesday.
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