National League: Lopez homers twice to lift Atlanta, 8-6
Atlanta ? Javy Lopez wasn’t sure how to describe his resurgence, other than to say he’s never felt this good at the plate.
Lopez hit a solo home run leading off the eighth inning, his second of the game, and the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-6, Saturday night.
On Thursday, Lopez hit a tiebreaking homer in an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.
“I don’t know what zone I’m in,” he said. “I just feel I’m in the best shape of my career and this is the most comfortable I’ve been at the plate in my career.”
Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones also connected for the Braves, who lead the NL with 94 home runs. Andruw Jones, at 26 years old, became the seventh-youngest player to hit his 200th homer.
“I’ve never seen our guys like this,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “One through eight, anybody can hit it out.”
Atlanta won its fourth in a row, and the Pirates lost for the fourth time in five games.
Lopez hit the first pitch from Brian Boehringer (3-2) to left-center for a 7-6 lead. Lopez has 16 homers this season after hitting just 11 all of last year.
“It was a fastball right down the middle,” Lopez said. “You just try to take advantage of the mistake.”
Marcus Giles singled to drive in Vinny Castilla later in the eighth for an insurance run.
In the sixth, Lopez hit another solo shot to bring the Braves to 6-5, and they tied it in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Giles. Roberto Hernandez (5-2) pitched a scoreless eighth, and John Smoltz came on in the ninth for his 23rd save in 24 chances.
Reggie Sanders had two hits, scored a run and drove in another during a six-run fifth for Pittsburgh.