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Braves win again, 2-1, in 10

Photo by John Bazemore

Photo by John Bazemore

ATLANTA -- The Pirates have stayed close to first place in the NL Central by taking advantage of their scoring chances.

For the second straight extra-innings loss to Atlanta, the Pirates failed to deliver the key hit.

David Ross hit a bases-loaded single in the 10th inning and the Braves beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Wednesday night for their second straight victory in extra innings.

This time, there was no controversy, no debate and a lot less innings.

Atlanta and Pittsburgh played 19 innings Tuesday night before Julio Lugo scored the winning run on a call at the plate that umpire Jerry Meals later acknowledged was incorrect.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle noted his team left runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings. Pittsburgh's only run came on Garrett Jones' 10th homer in the sixth.

"We're not built to slug," Hurdle said. "You combine that and come in here and face the Braves' starting rotation, it's one of the best ones in the league. It's tough duty.

"We've got to find some bats to get in play. Hopefully that will start tomorrow."

Pittsburgh, seeking its first winning season in 19 years, fell 1 games behind St Louis and Milwaukee in the NL Central.

The Pirates were held to seven hits by Jair Jurrjens and three relievers.

"We have an offense that's got to capitalize when we have opportunities," Hurdle said. "Three of the first four innings we had runners in scoring position.

"I don't see any over-swings. I see guys trying to square balls up. They're trying to be aggressive. They're trying to hit hard but I don't see guys just spinning on balls with no game plan."

Ross became Atlanta's starting catcher when the Braves placed McCann on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a left oblique injury. Ross came through with two hits, driving in both of the Braves' runs.

"You're not replacing B-Mac," Ross said. "I'm trying to get in there and hold down the fort until he comes back."

Ross is hitting .296. Most recently, he served as Tim Hudson's personal catcher in a routine that gave McCann a regular day off.

The Braves are 17-6 with Ross starting, and the veteran is hitting .316 with four homers and 18 RBIs in those starts.

"I can't think of very many teams in the major leagues that have the quality we do at the backup catcher position," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Nate McLouth led off the 10th with a single to right off Chris Leroux (1-1), who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game.

McLouth advanced to third on Freddie Freeman's one-out single and Leroux intentionally walked Dan Uggla to load the bases for Ross.

Scott Linebrink (4-2) pitched the 10th for the win. Uggla finished with three hits to extend his career-best hitting streak to 18 games.

Meals said Wednesday he watched a replay and Pittsburgh catcher Mike McKenry tagged Lugo before he scored the winning run in the second game of the series.

Hurdle said he wanted the clear acknowledgement from Meals that he missed the call.

"I think that would be appropriate," Hurdle said before Meals released his statement. "It would be professional. It would be respectful. And then we could all move on."

Hurdle spoke with Meals when lineup cards were exchanged at home plate before the game. The two shook hands, and Hurdle gave the umpire a pat on the back before returning to the dugout.

Hurdle said he told Meals he appreciated the way the umpire addressed the blown call.

"I said, 'We're the caretakers of the game,'" Hurdle said. "I told him I was proud of him. Job well done."

The 19-inning game lasted 6 hours, 39 minutes and was the longest in Turner Field history and in both franchise histories.

The Braves had one run and three hits off Paul Maholm in the sixth. Martin Prado led off with a bloop single to left and scored on a single by Ross.

Prado, who went 0 for 9 in the 19-inning game, had two hits but was thrown out at third by left fielder Xavier Paul while trying to stretch a double in the first.

Maholm gave up nine hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none.

NOTES: The Pirates placed INF Chase d'Arnaud on the 15-day DL with a fractured right little finger. ... The Braves acquired C Wil Nieves from Milwaukee for cash and assigned him to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Pittsburgh C Ryan Doumit was 0 for 3 in his second injury rehab game with Indianapolis. Doumit is returning from a left ankle sprain.