Ross, Braves slam Orioles

ATLANTA 5, BALTIMORE 4

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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."

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Baltimore's Blake Davis is tagged out by second baseman Dan Uggla while trying to steal in the fourth inning. The Braves scored all their runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a mistake by left fielder Luke Scott. Uggla hit a sinking liner to left with two out but Scott dropped it. Uggla was awarded an RBI single.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Baltimore's Blake Davis is tagged out by second baseman Dan Uggla while trying to steal in the fourth inning. The Braves scored all their runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a mistake by left fielder Luke Scott. Uggla hit a sinking liner to left with two out but Scott dropped it. Uggla was awarded an RBI single.

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 RBI in his past 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 past 12 games.

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 in a row 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.


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