By The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — Rookie Adam Frazier came through for the Pittsburgh Pirates in his first game back in his home state.
Frazier, a native of Athens, Ga., had a two-run single in a four-run sixth inning after breaking up a no-hit bid with a double in the fifth, and the Pirates defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-3 Tuesday night to bounce back from a three-game weekend sweep at Milwaukee.
“It was pretty cool to have a lot of people here to support me,” said Frazier, who raised his average to .367 with the 2-for-4 game.
Frazier could have had a third hit, but was robbed by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in his final at-bat.
“He’s swung the bat well for us and found a way to hunt some RBIs in some pretty key situations,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
While it was a nice homecoming for Frazier, it was a rough Braves debut for veteran Matt Kemp, who was acquired from San Diego over the weekend.
Kemp, who left five runners on base while going 0-for-4, came to the plate as the tying run in the ninth inning against new Pirates closer Tony Watson, but he struck out against the left-hander.
Kemp also fanned to end the seventh inning, that time with two runners in scoring position and Neftali Feliz pitching.
Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, who pitched his first complete game in his previous start, picked up the victory despite lasting just five innings.
Cole (7-6) allowed seven hits and two runs (one earned). The right-hander struck out four and walked two.
Nick Markakis hit his sixth homer of the season for the Braves in the eighth inning off a changeup from Feliz, but Watson locked down the victory in the ninth despite a leadoff walk.
It was the first save of the season and sixth of his career for the Watson, who took over as the Pirates’ closer when Mark Melancon was traded to the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
“All four of our relievers posted up very well for us,” Hurdle said.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz (4-5) didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, but he was gone in the sixth as the Pirates scored four times to go ahead for good.
“That first couple of innings is probably the best I’ve felt all year and the most confident I’ve felt all year,” Foltynewicz said. “It’s just that the last four or five outings I’ve had one big inning that’s hurt me. I have to do a better job of controlling that.”
Foltynewicz was pulled after giving up an RBI single to Matt Joyce and a run-scoring double by Jung Ho Kang, both with one out. Frazier followed with his single against reliever Jose Ramirez.
Foltynewicz, who allowed four hits and walked three, was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four.
“We nicked him up there in the sixth, but his stuff was so fresh early,” Hurdle said. “My gosh, his fastball had great finish and both his off-speed pitches were playing up well.”
The Braves had left four runners in scoring position in the first three innings before cashing in an unearned run in the fourth.
Ender Inciarte, who had doubled earlier to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, singled with two outs and moved up on a passed ball.
A.J. Pierzynski then hit a high chopper that went off the glove of charging second baseman Frazier and caromed into left field for a fluke double.
“The quicker you bounce back the better,” Frazier said. “It was tough, but you’ve got to let it go. It felt good to make up for it.”
Foltynewicz had faced just one batter above the minimum when he hit Francisco Cervelli on the batting helmet with an 82 mph changeup one out into the fifth.
Capping a 13-pitch at-bat, Frazier followed with a double for the Pirates’ first hit and Eric Fryer, pinch running for Cervelli, scored on a grounder by Jordy Mercer.
“All the pitches he fouled off were up in the zone,” Foltynewicz said. “That got me tired, but hats off to him for getting the bat on the ball.”
Markakis delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to score Jace Peterson and the Braves led 2-1.
NOTES: The Braves placed RHP Julio Teheran (right lat strain) on the 15-day disabled list to make room on the roster for OF Matt Kemp. Teheran, the Braves’ representative in the All-Star Game, fell to 3-9 with a loss to Philadelphia on Saturday despite a 2.81 ERA that is 10th best in the National League. … 2B Josh Harrison wasn’t available for the Pirates after bruising his right leg in a collision at first base at Milwaukee on Sunday. … CF Andrew McCutcheon was out of the Pirates’ lineup for a rest. … LHP Jeff Locke (8-6, 5.43 ERA) will return to the Pirates’ rotation to face the Braves on Wednesday night. … RHP Ivan Nova, acquired Monday from the New York Yankees, will make his Pirates debut on Saturday with a home start against Cincinnati.