Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Atlanta leads 2-0 (as of 5/12)

Game 1: Friday, May 11
Atlanta4Final
Pittsburgh1
Game 2: Saturday, May 12
Atlanta9Final
Pittsburgh2
Game 3: Sunday, May 13
Atlanta2Final
Pittsburgh13

Braves 9

(24-12, 11-5 away)

Pirates 2

(15-20, 5-10 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 12, 2007

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 032100102 9 14 0
    PIT 000000020 2 5 3

    W: C. James (4-3)

    L: T. Armas (0-3)

    James holds Bucs hitless through six-plus in Braves' win

    A CLOSER LOOK
    • Summary: Braves starter Chuck James held the Pirates hitless through six-plus innings, helping Atlanta to a 9-2 win.

    Chuck James
    James

    • Winning ways: With the win, Bobby Cox passed Sparky Anderson for 4th on all-time win list with 2,195.

    • In control: James allowed one hit while walking three and striking out three in a seven-inning stint.

    • Unsung hero: First baseman Scott Thorman homered twice while picking up five RBIs.

    • Figure this: Pittsburgh held a pre-game meeting to discuss offensive woes and then didn't get a hit until Jason Bay broke up the no-no in the seventh. The Pirates combined for just five hits

    -- ESPN.com news services

    Braves 9, Pirates 2

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Braves manager Bobby Cox felt his stomach churning for the first time all season, and it had nothing to do with the place in the record book he was about to fill. His nervousness came from a pitcher who has labored all season, only to find himself taking a no-hitter deep into the game.

    Atlanta's Chuck James held the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates hitless until Jason Bay singled in the seventh, and Scott Thorman homered twice in leading the Braves to a 9-2 victory Saturday night that extended their winning streak to five.

    James (4-3), who has never thrown complete game in 26 major league starts, allowed one hit in seven innings to give Cox his 2,195th managerial victory -- the fourth most in major league history. Cox surpassed Sparky Anderson on the career wins list and trails only Connie Mack, John McGraw and Tony La Russa.

    A night after Cox called tying Anderson "another stat," he wasn't asked about the accomplishment during his postgame news conference. His players remembered.

    "He downplays everything, but for him that's awesome," Jeff Francoeur said. "We couldn't be more excited, you couldn't get it for a better guy. Look at the guys he's passed, Sparky Anderson -- it's hard sometimes to realize because he's your manager, but they're going to talk about him for a long time. There's no doubt he's a Hall of Fame manager."

    Deans of the Dugout
    Bobby Cox claimed his 2,195th managerial victory on Saturday, to move past Sparky Anderson into fourth place in major-league history. The top 10 (x-still managing):
    Manager
    Wins
    1. Connie Mack
    3,776
    2. John McGraw
    2,840
    3. x-Tony La Russa
    2,311
    4. x-Bobby Cox
    2,195
    5. Sparky Anderson
    2,194
    6. Bucky Harris
    2,159
    7. Joe McCarthy
    2,126
    8. Walter Alston
    2,040
    9. Leo Durocher
    2,009
    10. x-Joe Torre
    1,989
    11. Casey Stengel
    1,926
    12. Gene Mauch
    1,901

    Cox was more interested in talking about James, who was averaging five innings per start and hadn't lasted longer than six innings in seven starts. He was coming off a season-low 3 2/3 innings during a loss to San Diego.

    "He was popping strikes all night long. He had a changeup. He had it all going," Cox said. "Everybody was pulling for him. My stomach got nauseous for the first time all year. It did, it really did."

    Not to worry against an offense like Pittsburgh's, the NL's least-productive except for Washington.

    "I've been struggling a little bit and trying to get back to where I feel comfortable, and I've been putting a little extra stress on myself," James said. "I've kind of built me up a wall in the sixth inning and couldn't quite get through it. Today was a good confidence booster."

    Not for the Pirates. Limited to three runs or fewer in 19 of 35 games, they held a pregame meeting to address hitting problems, then didn't have anything resembling a hit until Bay lined a single into left field on a 1-0 pitch with one out in the seventh. The Pirates didn't have a baserunner until James walked Jose Bautista and Jack Wilson in succession starting the sixth.

    "We talked before we went out there about not being overly aggressive and letting guys nibble on us and getting ourselves out. Then we went out there with a game plan and he went right after us," Bay said. "We've got to take it upon ourselves to make it personal and go out there and turn it around."

    Even without Chipper Jones, sitting out following a Friday night collision with Bautista that injured Jones' wrists and left quadriceps, the Braves had way too much offense for a struggling Pirates team that has lost 10 of 14 and fallen 9 1/2 games out of the NL Central lead.

    Tony Armas (0-3) failed to win for the sixth start in a row, giving up five runs -- four earned -- in two-plus innings.

    Thorman's first homer, a three-run drive, followed Brian McCann's walk and Francoeur's single to make it 3-0 in the second. McCann added an RBI single during a two-run third aided by second baseman Freddy Sanchez's error for dropping the relay throw on an apparent double play grounder.

    "We're starting to break loose pretty good," Cox said.

    Thorman drove in five runs, adding a two-run homer -- his fifth of the season -- against Jonah Bayliss in the ninth. The two-homer game was the first of his career.

    James had won only one of his previous five starts, and that was an unimpressive 9-7 decision against Colorado on April 27. Still, this wasn't the best start of his career -- he limited the Mets to one hit over eight innings last season in a 5-0 decision on Sept. 4.

    Game notes


    The Pirates are 5-10 at home. ... The five-game winning streak is Atlanta's longest this season. The Braves lead the Mets by 1 1/2 games in the NL East. ... Braves SS Edgar Renteria ran his hitting streak to 18 games (29-for-83, .349) with a single in the third. ... James, 11-4 last season, faced the Pirates for the first time. ... The Pirates have lost six of eight. ... Pirates 1B Adam LaRoche, formerly with the Braves, grounded into a double play for the second time in as many at-bats in two games, as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. ... Cox has a 2,195-1,698 record in 26 seasons with the Braves and Toronto Blue Jays.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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