It didn't matter that Chipper Jones, who is having a career year, was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game. The Braves still won 8-3 over the Seattle Mariners at Turner Field Sunday afternoon, with Mark Teixeira leading the way with three home runs.
Teixeira had only hit three homers in a game once before: July 13, 2006. He was with the Rangers, who were playing the Baltimore Orioles.
In addition, every one of the other hitters in the Braves' lineup registered at least one base hit. That was because Jeff Francoeur didn't start.
For once, a gem of a start from ace Tim Hudson didn't go to waste. Teixeira gave the right-handed sinkerballer a one-run lead in the second inning on a solo homer off Seattle (26-49) starter Carlos Silva. Hudson pitched seven shutout innings and allowed only four hits and four walks.
In another rarity, the Braves (38-39) were able to add onto their lead—a lot.
In the fourth, Teixeira and catcher Brian McCann led off with back-to-back blasts, stretching the lead to three. Later that inning, centerfielder Gregor Blanco singled home third baseman Ruben Gotay.
In the fifth, Gotay shot a grounder through the right side of the infield, scoring McCann and former Mariner Greg Norton. Seattle traded Norton to the Braves on May 5 for a player to be named or cash.
Teixeira got his last laugh in the seventh when he tomahawked a two-run home run to left field. Second baseman Kelly Johnson, who had singled through the middle just prior to Tex's at-bat, also scored.
The Mariners didn't score until the ninth inning, when Atlanta closer Mike Gonzalez gave up a two-run jack to slumping catcher Jeff Clement. Yuniesky Betancourt scored on the play, too.
Betancourt got on by hitting a sharp grounder deep into the hole between third and short. Braves shortstop Omar Infante fielded it but made a bad throw while fading away from first base.
Seattle second baseman Willie Bloomquist scored right fielder Ichiro Suzuki with two outs in the ninth on a bloop hit that dropped between Johnson and right fielder Brandon Jones.
The Braves will start a three-game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers (40-34) on Monday at 7 p.m. The pitching matchup for the first game of the series is Ben Sheets (8-1, 2.74 ERA) against Jo-Jo Reyes (3-4, 4.05 ERA).
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