MLB

Ross hits grand slam as streaking Braves hold off O's

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Associated Press
7/2/2011 10:24:01 PM
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ATLANTA -- David 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.

Tim Hudson pitched six innings and Jordan Schafer made a couple of nice plays in centre field, helping Atlanta to its fifth consecutive win and 10th in its last 12 games overall.

Mark Reynolds hit two first-pitch homers for Baltimore, including a two-run shot to centre 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 straight and are 10 games below .500 for the first time this season.

Markakis finished with three hits one day after he his career-best 19-game hitting streak.

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.

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.

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 worked around Matt Wieters' one-out single in the ninth to earn his 24th save.

Hudson (7-6) wasn't sharp but was helped by two impressive grabs by Schafer. After catching 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.

Hudson's night began with an unexpected tumble off the mound. His cleats stuck in the dirt as he was starting to deliver his third pitch to leadoff hitter J.J. Hardy. He kept the ball as he landed sideways, then tumbled onto the grass.

Hudson, grinning and obviously embarrassed, tipped his cap to the fans in a self-effacing manner as third baseman Chipper Jones held his glove over his face to hide his laughter. Hudson regrouped to strike out Hardy and he continued to smile -- especially when looking over at Jones -- the rest of the inning.

There was rain, but play continued, in the final two innings. There was a brief delay in the middle of the eighth as dry dirt was applied to the pitcher's mound and around home plate.

NOTES: The Braves optioned RHP Cristhian Martinez to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled RHP Cory Gearrin for the third time this season. ... Ross hit his only other grand slam on Aug. 31, 2010, against the Mets. ... The Orioles fell to 6-11 in interleague play and 4-14 in their last 18 road games. ... Attendance was 36,259.

David Ross (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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