published Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Mather-led Braves beat Angels in 12

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Joe Mather hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning with Atlanta down by four runs, and he drove in the go-ahead run with a 12th-inning double to lead the Braves to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Trevor Bell (1-1), the eighth Angels pitcher, retired his first two batters in the 12th before Alex Gonzalez reached on an infield single up the middle and took an extra base as rookie second baseman Alex Amarista inadvertently kicked the ball into short left field for his first error in the big leagues. Mather then lifted a 1-0 pitch to right field that fell just inside the foul line and out of the reach of Torii Hunter as Gonzalez scored.

Scott Proctor (1-0) pitched a perfect 11th inning for Atlanta. The victory was the right-hander’s first with the Braves and improved his National League record to 6-0. The seven-year veteran is 11-10 in the American League.

Rookie Craig Kimbrell got three outs in the 12th for his 12th save in 16 chances.

The Braves, who had only four hits against Ervin Santana in his complete-game 9-0 victory Friday night, rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Joel Pineiro with four runs in the ninth after stranding seven runners through the first six innings.

Mather, the Braves’ No. 9 hitter, got them on the board with a three-run homer to left field on Pineiro’s 94th pitch after a leadoff single by Freddie Freeman and a double by Gonzalez. The homer was Mather’s first since Sept. 1, 2008, against Randy Johnson at Arizona while Mather was playing for St. Louis.

Pineiro, who was charged with four runs, 11 hits and no walks in 6 1/3 innings, faced two more batters — retiring Nate McLouth and giving up a double to Martin Prado — before Fernando Rodney came in and retired Chipper Jones. Manager Mike Scioscia then played the percentages, bringing in lefty Hisanori Takahashi to face Brian McCann, and he got burned as last year’s All-Star game MVP drove in the tying run with a double to left-center.

Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson allowed four runs, five hits and four walks in six innings and struck out seven in his first career appearance against the Angels. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA over his previous five starts.

One night after watching teammate Tim Hudson hit three batters in a span of two innings, Hanson plunked the second batter he faced. Erick Aybar took a 1-2 pitch off his right foot and scored when Bobby Abreu drove an 0-2 delivery into the first row of seats in the right field corner for his second homer of the season.

Hanson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third when shortstop Gonzalez caught Hank Conger’s soft line drive. But Los Angeles increased the margin to 4-0 in the fifth on a two-run single by Hunter — the Angels’ final hit.

Pineiro is 10-1 with a 2.75 ERA over his last 17 starts. He was sidelined between July 21 and Sept. 18 of last season because of an oblique strain on his right side, and missed the first 25 games this season due to shoulder stiffness.

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