Saltalamacchia is Braves' newest hero
Jarrod Saltalamacchia found a way to cap his charmed first week in the major leagues. Called up on his 22nd birthday last Wednesday, Saltalamacchia made his second start yesterday, had his first hit and then drove in the go-ahead run with his first RBI to help the Atlanta Braves rally for a 6-4 win over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia found a way to cap his charmed first week in the major leagues.
Called up on his 22nd birthday last Wednesday, Saltalamacchia made his second start yesterday, had his first hit and then drove in the go-ahead run with his first RBI to help the Atlanta Braves rally for a 6-4 win over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.
With two outs, two runners on base and the game tied at 4-4 in the seventh inning, Saltalamacchia came to the plate in what looked to be a pressure situation. Instead, the rookie catcher said, "That was the most calm I've ever felt."
One reason was that he was facing Dodgers reliever Chad Billingsley, an old friend from West Palm Beach, Fla., whom Saltalamacchia often caught in youth baseball games.
"I caught Chad growing up, Junior Olympics, 18-and-under, summer leagues, stuff like that," Saltalamacchia said. "I knew he had a hard fastball and good stuff, so I was sitting on a fastball. I knew he wanted to throw it past me."
Saltalamacchia hit a fastball to rightfield for a single to drive in Edgar Renteria, giving the rookie a highlight to top his first hit an inning earlier.
The Dodgers had been 15-0 when leading after six innings, but Chin-hui Tsao gave up five runs in the seventh as the Braves sent 10 batters to the plate.
"We made a nice comeback against one of the top bullpens," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who was ejected in the seventh along with Chipper Jones after the two argued a checked-swing called third strike by third-base umpire Bob Davidson.
Saltalamacchia was 2-for-4 and threw out two baserunners.
In other games:
* At Milwaukee, Prince Fielder homered twice in the Brewers' 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, putting their record at a major league-best 21-10, 11 games over .500 for the first time since 1992.
Carlos Villanueva (3-0) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings to get the win and Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances.
Fielder, who turns 23 on Wednesday, led off the second inning with a drive over the Pirates' bullpen in right, and lined his second homer of the game into the seats in right. It was his second multihomer game of the season.
* At Miami, Jake Peavy (4-1) allowed one hit in 7 innings and struck out 10 to lead the San Diego Padres over the Marlins, 3-1. Trevor Hoffman closed with a perfect ninth for his major league-record 490th career save.
* At Phoenix, Livan Hernandez gave up one run in 7 innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Mets, 3-1, to end a 13-game home losing streak to New York.
* At St. Louis, Scott Rolen snapped an 0-for-25 slump with a two-run single in a three-run fourth inning, helping the Cardinals beat the Houston Astros, 3-1.
* At Chicago, Daryle Ward singled home the winning run in the 10th inning after Ryan Theriot tied it with a single in the ninth, and the surging Cubs beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3, for their fifth straight victory. Carlos Lee singled in the first, and has now reached base safely in all 29 Cubs games.
* At Cincinnati, Josh Hamilton, the NL rookie of the month for April, smashed a pair of homers as the Reds snapped their four-game losing streak with a 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies. *