ATLANTA (AP) -- A six-game losing skid early in the season had
Dan Haren on track for a notably poor season.
Now Haren is streaking in the winning direction.
Backed by two-run homers from Eric Chavez and Bobby Crosby,
Haren won his third straight decision and the Oakland Athletics
snapped an 11-game road losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves
6-4 Friday night.
Chavez snapped a 4-all tie with a two-run homer in the seventh
inning and Haren also drove in two runs -- giving him more to brag
about after the game.
"I swung OK in batting practice," Haren said. "I think they
expected a lot out of me, to be honest."
Added Haren: "I enjoy hitting."
Haren (4-7) had been 3-for-39 in his career before going 1-for-3
with two RBI, but Oakland manager Ken Macha was more interested in
the right-hander's trend of avoiding walks.
After not issuing a walk in three straight starts, Haren walked
two Atlanta batters but Macha noted one was an intentional pass.
Asked the difference in Haren's 1-7 start and his three straight
wins, Macha said, "command of the baseball."
Haren said he was "ecstatic" because he won, giving up six
hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings, even though he said, "I
really didn't have much. I didn't have my breaking ball at all."
Oakland won on the road for the first time since May 20 at San
"You do something once, it doesn't mean anything," Chavez said
of the win. "You have to come back and do it again. It won't mean
anything if we don't back it up tomorrow."
Huston Street got four outs for his third save in five chances.
Marcus Giles had two hits, including his fourth homer, for the
Braves, who have dropped four straight series. Atlanta has lost 10
of 14 games and has dropped to two games over .500 for the first
time since April 25.
The Braves started four rookies one day after learning third
baseman Chipper Jones will miss at least four to six weeks while
resting his injured left foot.
After Mark Kotsay's one-out single off Braves reliever Ramon
Colon (0-3) in the seventh inning, Chavez launched a two-run homer,
his eighth, into the right-field seats for a 6-4 lead.
With pitcher Kyle Davies and catcher Brian McCann, each 21 and
each from Atlanta suburbs, the Braves became the first team in the
majors to have a starting battery under the age of 22 in almost 21
years. On Aug. 19, 1984, the Mets' Dwight Gooden, then 19, was
paired with 21-year-old catcher John Gibbons.
McCann, called up Wednesday, was 2-for-3 in his major league
debut. McCann is from Duluth, Ga., and Davies is from Stockbridge.
Davies gave up four runs -- doubling his previous total through
his first four starts -- on eight hits and two walks in 5 2/3
"He made one bad pitch to Crosby, a 3-1 fastball that got in
the heart of the plate; he hit the heck out of it," Braves manager
Bobby Cox said. He added Davies "is legit. He's the real deal."
The Braves took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Haren gave up a
leadoff double to Adam LaRoche and hit Andruw Jones with a pitch.
One out later, Brian Jordan drove in LaRoche with a single to
right. In his first major league at-bat, McCann drove in Jones with
another single to right.
With Jordan running from third base, Davies followed with a
suicide squeeze bunt. Haren's throw to the plate was late.
The A's answered with three runs in the fourth, including a
two-run homer by Crosby. The homer drove in Chavez, who led off
with a single.
It was the second homer of the season --and the week -- for
Crosby, who hit his first homer Wednesday night at Washington.
Dan Johnson, who followed Crosby's homer with a single, moved to
third on Matt Watson's double to left and scored on Haren's
groundout to tie the game at 3-all.
Giles' homer, a line drive to left, gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead in
Davies needed 38 pitches to survive the fourth inning and went
over 100 pitches in the sixth, when the A's tied the game on
Crosby's leadoff double and a two-out single by Haren.
Following Haren's single, which tied the game at 4-all, Braves
manager Bobby Cox brought in Colon, who ended the inning with by
getting a groundout from Jason Kendall.
Most of the game was played in a steady but light rain. ...
Crosby's homer was the first allowed by Davies in 26 1-3 innings.
... Giles led off the third inning with an apparent double, but he
slid past second base and was tagged out by Mark Ellis. Giles was
credited with only a single. ... Braves catcher Johnny Estrada,
recovering from a slight concussion, expects to return Monday.
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