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Ozuna homers, Morton dominant in Braves' victory over Pirates

Marcell Ozuna Atlanta Braves Marcell Ozuna - The Canadian Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Marcell Ozuna drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double in Atlanta's five-run third inning, Charlie Morton gave up only three hits to Pittsburgh, his former home, and the Braves beat the Pirates 6-1 on Friday night.

Morton, 40, has wins against every major league team with his first win over the Pirates. He pitched for Pittsburgh from 2009 through 2015. The 40-year-old right-hander pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and had seven strikeouts.

“There's always been a special place for me for Pittsburgh,” Morton said. “I spent seven seasons there and experienced a lot of lows and highs.”

Austin Riley hit his ninth homer, including six in the last 14 games. The Braves scored six runs in four innings off Martín Pérez (1-4) in the left-hander's return from the injured list. Pérez had been out since May 27 with a left groin muscle strain.

The highlight for the Pirates came in the eighth when Bryan Reynolds singled up the middle off Jesse Chavez, extending his hitting streak to 24 games, the longest in the majors this season. It is the longest streak by a Pittsburgh hitter since 2003.

Morton (5-4) was dominant in only his second career start against Pittsburgh.

“That was old-school Charlie Morton curve ball,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “He had the ability to go to it anytime he wanted to. You see why he's pitched 15 years in the big leagues. I don't know if he can have a better curve ball than that.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Morton completing his list of wins against every team “is a pretty cool thing.”

“What he does is amazing to me with all the innings and years and pitches,” Snitker said.

Morton hit Reynolds with a pitch in the first and walked Nick Gonzales in the second. He retired 10 consecutive hitters before Ke'Bryan Hayes' single up the middle with one out in the fifth for the Pirates' first hit. Andrew McCutchen opened the sixth with an infield single and Gonzales doubled to open the seventh.

The Pirates avoided a shutout when Hayes' two-out double off Aaron Bummer in the ninth drove in Connor Joe, who had a pinch-hit double.


Pirates: Rookie RHP Jared Jones had his normal turn in the rotation skipped. Jones has logged 86 innings after throwing a career-high 126 1/3 in the minor leagues last season. “We went into the season knowing from the get-go we were going to have to be mindful of his innings,” Shelton said. ... IF Jake Lamb signed as a minor league free agent and was assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Braves: OF Ramón Laureano did not start for the second straight game due to lower back soreness after making a throw in the second game of Wednesday's double-header at St. Louis. ... LHP A.J. Minter (left hip inflammation) is scheduled to throw Sunday at Triple-A Gwinnett in possibly his final rehab appearance since landing on the IL on May 30.


Pittsburgh rookie standout RHP Paul Skenes (4-0, 2.14 ERA) will face Braves LHP Max Fried (7-3, 3.00) on Saturday. “He's pretty special,” said Snitker of Skenes, who has allowed no more than one earned run in five of his eight starts. “As hard as it will be, it's kind of cool when you see a young talent like that in person.”