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Jace Peterson, Andrelton Simmons help Atlanta Braves beat Los Angeles Dodgers

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves are hoping second baseman Jace Peterson and shortstop Andrelton Simmons are starting to emerge from their prolonged dry spells. Both showed positive offensive signs on Monday.

Peterson had two hits and three RBIs and Simmons had two hits and scored two runs to help the Braves defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 on Monday at Turner Field.

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Peterson, who entered the game batting just .161 since June 20, had a bases-loaded double to drive in two runs in the fourth and singled home another run in the sixth. He's now batting .642 (9-for-14) with 20 RBIs with the bases loaded.

Simmons, batting .164 over the previous 19 games, walked and scored a run, then singled and scored in the sixth when the Braves added to their lead.

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"Jace has been great with the bases loaded all year," right fielder Nick Markakis said. "I wish he could hit with the bases loaded all the time."

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "They both needed some good production."

It was the most runs for the Braves since they scored nine on July 4.

The winning pitcher was rookie Matt Wisler (4-1), who allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings, with two strikeouts. After blowing a 4-0 lead, Wisler returned to the mound and pitched a scoreless sixth.

"You've got to show you've got confidence in him and let him grow," Gonzalez said. "And we needed some length and he gave us an extra inning."

Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless seventh.

The Dodgers threatened in the eighth when Andrew McKirahan allowed the first two batters to hit singles and was lifted for Arodys Vizcaino. Pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke singled, but left fielder Eury Perez threw out first baseman Adrian Gonzalez at the plate, and Vizcaino pitched around a wild pitch to strand the two runners.

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"The play of the game was throwing Gonzalez out at the plate," Atlanta's Gonzalez said.

Jim Johnson pitched the ninth inning and earned his seventh save, but it wasn't easy. He allowed three consecutive singles to open the inning, but got second baseman Howie Kendrick to hit into a double play that scored a run and retired Gonzalez on a grounder to first base to end the game.

"We had a couple of shots," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We swung the bat well. Even when we weren't getting hits, we were hitting the ball hard."

The losing pitcher was Adam Liberatore (2-2), who allowed the go-ahead run in the fifth inning.

The Dodgers were led offensively by third baseman Justin Turner, who was 4-for-4 with a double.

Brandon Beachy, making his second start for Los Angeles, pitched four innings and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision.

"We're still seeing flashes of good, getting the ball where he wants," Mattingly said. "Some good, some bad ... a lot like his first start."

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The Braves scored two runs in the first inning when right fielder Nick Markakis lined a two-run shot to straightaway center field. It was the first home run of the season for Markakis and his first since Sept. 25 when he played for Baltimore.

Atlanta added two runs in the fourth inning with a two-out rally, the key hit being a two-run opposite-field double by Peterson that gave Atlanta a 4-0 lead.

The Dodgers tied the game with a four-run outburst in the fifth.

Catcher Austin Barnes singled and went to third when a routine grounder to first base by pinch hitter Alex Guerrero hit the inner cut of the diamond, changed directions and rolled into right field.

Barnes was erased at the plate on center fielder Joc Pederson's fielder's choice, which left runners on first and second. Kendrick responded with a two-run double and Gonzalez followed with a long two-run homer to right field, his 21st.

Atlanta took a 5-4 lead in the fifth with one run against Liberatore. Markakis doubled to left, went to third on an infield grounder and scored when third baseman Juan Uribe lined a single past the drawn-in infield.

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NOTES: Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman hit some balls before the game (tee and soft toss) and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. He is expected to make a couple of rehab starts before returning. Freeman has been on the disabled list since June 18 with a right wrist contusion. ... Atlanta activated LHP Andrew McKirahan and optioned RHP Ryan Kelly to Triple-A Gwinnett. McKirahan was suspended for 80 games for violating the league's PED policy. ... Atlanta's Kelly Johnson was not in the starting lineup after suffering from flu-like symptoms. ... Los Angeles put C A.J. Ellis on the 15-day DL with right ankle inflammation and recalled C Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... The Braves honored longtime broadcaster Don Sutton prior to the game for his induction into the team's Hall of Fame. After finishing his Hall of Fame career as a pitcher, Sutton joined the Braves as a broadcaster in 1989. He worked 2007-08 in Washington before returning to the broadcast team in Atlanta. ... The second game of the series continues Tuesday with Los Angeles LHP Brett Anderson (5-5, 3.17) vs. Atlanta LHP Alex Wood (6-6, 3.76).

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