published Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Lowe hits HR, earns win as Braves beat Nats 3-1

ATLANTA — Two milestone home runs — Chipper Jones’ 450th and Derek Lowe’s first — gave Atlanta the early lead and Lowe combined with three relievers on a three-hitter as the Braves beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 41st save, setting a major league rookie record.

Ian Desmond’s singles in the first and third innings were the only hits allowed by Lowe (9-12) until Michael Morse led off the seventh with a homer.

John Lannan (8-11) gave up seven hits and three runs, two earned, in seven innings as his streak of five straight wins over the Braves ended.

Jones hit his 14th homer in the second inning. Lowe, 38, lined a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left field in the third inning for his first homer in his 405th career at-bat.

Lowe, a career .149 hitter, entered the game hitting .182 this season.

Lowe looked surprised as he watched the ball clear the wall. Grinning widely, he was welcomed in the Braves’ dugout by enthusiastic teammates who pounded his helmet and back and offered high-fives.

The Braves said the Elias Sports Bureau reported Lowe is only the third pitcher since 1900 to hit his first career homer at 38 or older. Randy Johnson was 40 when he hit his first homer in 2003. Preacher Roe was 38 when he hit his first homer in 1953.

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