Braves Win In 19 Innings, Beat Pirates 4-3

This was one crazy game. The way it ended may have been more so.

Long after both starters left the game, the Braves required 19 innings to beat the Pirates 4-3.

For the seventh time in their last eight games, the Braves allowed a first inning run. Xavier Paul singled leading off the game against Tommy Hanson and scored on Neil Walker's triple. Walker later scored on a single by Pedro Alvarez. One inning later, Michael McKenry hit his second home run of the season for a 3-0 Pirates lead.

The Braves were able to battle back, however, against Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens in the third inning. He recorded two quick outs, but three straight hits including Dan Uggla's RBI single put the Braves on the board. Following a walk, Jason Heyward's single tied the game 3-3. Uggla's single extended his hitting streak to 17 games.

Hanson stifled the Pittsburgh offense after that. He allowed seven hits in six innings and struck out six. Karstens exited after only five innings and 96 pitches.

Then the battle of the bullpens took over. The three-headed monster of Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel did its job, each of them striking out two. In the bottom of the ninth, Nate McLouth became fed up with the low strike calls of umpire Jerry Meals and got himself ejected along with Fredi Gonzalez.

Once 10 innings had passed, it became the Cristhian Martinez show. For six innings, Martinez allowed only two hits and struck out six. Unfortunately for him, his offense couldn't get him his first win of the year. Braves hitters put at least two runners on in each of Martinez's first three innings, but failed to push across a run.

Scott Proctor entered in the 17th inning and wasn't nearly as effective as Martinez, but managed to work around three walks, two of them intentional, and keep the Pirates off the scoreboard into the 19th.

The Braves went to bat in the bottom of the 19th hoping to end the long, drawn-out contest. Julio Lugo walked with one out against reliever Daniel McCutchen, who was working on his sixth inning of work. Jordan Schafer followed with a single to send Lugo to third, then it was time for Proctor himself to hit. On a two-strike pitch, Proctor hit a ground ball to the third baseman Alvarez. The throw to the plate easily beat Lugo, but he was amazingly called safe. The Pirates dugout was furious, but the call stood and the Braves walked off winners.

The win was bittersweet for the Braves because Brian McCann strained a left oblique muscle trying to throw out Neil Walker stealing in the 10th. He will be placed on the 15-day DL.

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