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Tyler Flowers powers Atlanta Braves past Los Angeles Dodgers

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange
Tyler Flowers powers Atlanta Braves past Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves catcher Tyler Flowers. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

ATLANTA -- When the Atlanta Braves were losing their first nine games, they scored a total of 24 runs. In winning their last four, they scored 26.

"They stick their nose in there," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Funny things happen when you put the ball in play."

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Tyler Flowers was the catalyst on Tuesday. The Atlanta native matched his career high with four hits and drove in three runs to help the Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 Tuesday and extend their winning streak to four games.

Flowers, a catcher who signed a two-year free agent deal in the offseason, was 4-for-4 and improved his batting average to .412. He has hit safely in five of his last six games.

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Atlanta had 10 hits, including two hits and two RBI from outfielder Jeff Francoeur, and posted a season-high for runs.

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"(Flowers) had some great at-bats, him at Francoeur, too," Gonzalez said. "They did an excellent job getting hits and driving people in."

The winning pitcher was rookie Ryan Weber, who was recalled from the minor leagues Monday. Weber (1-0) earned his first career victory by pitching 3 2/3 innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits and no walks with four strikeouts.

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Weber rescued starter Williams Perez, who was working on short rest. He had to start a day earlier than planned when scheduled starter Julio Teheran was scratched because of sickness.

Perez was lifted with one out in the third when the Dodgers got two batters on. Although the Brave had a 4-0 lead at the time, Gonzalez didn't want to take any chances.

"(Perez) gave us all he could," Gonzalez said. "Webby came in and that's the best part of what he can do for us. That's the way you want to utilize him."

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The losing pitcher was ex-Brave Alex Wood, who was victimized by two infield errors. Wood (1-2) pitched four innings and allowed six runs, three earned, on seven hits and three walks. He struck out one and hit two batters in throwing 88 pitches.

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"At times he was getting ahead and at times his breaking ball was sharp and had depth," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "And other times it didn't have any finish to it. They found ways to put the bat on the ball and find some holes. He was competing and gave us what he had."

The Dodgers, who entered the game with only four errors in their first 13 games, committed three miscues that led to four unearned runs.

"That's very uncharacteristic for us," Roberts said. "Woody didn't throw his best, but if we make a couple of plays for him, it's a different ball game. Nights like this are going to happen."

The Braves scored two runs in the first inning. Francoeur drove home the first on a long sacrifice fly to center field, and Flowers followed with an opposite-field RBI single.

Atlanta added two runs in the third. Flowers poked a single to right to drive in a run and Mallex Smith got an RBI when he coaxed a bases-loaded walk from Wood.

The Dodgers chased Perez in the fourth when Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig had back-to-back singles with one out. The Braves brought in Weber, who squelched the rally by retiring Yasmani Grandal on a fielder's choice and striking out Howie Kendrick.

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The Braves tacked on two runs with two outs in the fourth on consecutive singles by Francoeur and Flowers to push the lead to 6-0.

Los Angeles got a run back in the fifth when Joc Pederson scored on Corey Seager's hard infield grounder to first baseman Freddie Freeman.

The Braves added two more runs in the seventh on an opposite-field double by Smith. That ended a stretch of 16 consecutive scoreless innings for the Dodgers' bullpen.

"Give those guys credit, they pitched well and we hit the ball hard at times but really couldn't string anything together," Roberts said.

NOTES: Rookie CF Mallex Smith, the Braves' 2015 minor league player of the year, made his Turner Field debut. ... The Braves placed INF Gordon Beckham (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list and promoted RHP Ryan Weber from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... The Braves switched starters and moved RHP Julio Teheran (0-2) to Wednesday when he will oppose RHP Ross Stripling (0-0) in the second game of the three-game series. Teheran felt ill when he arrived at the park. The change was necessitated when the Braves had to use Matt Wisler in relief on Sunday. ... The Dodgers' bullpen entered the series having thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings. ... Atlanta OF Hector Olivera will spend at least two more weeks on administrative leave. He was arrested last week on domestic violence charges and originally placed on paid administrative leave for a week.

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