The Pirates continued their pattern of winning every other game with a 4-2 victory over Atlanta. John Candelaria and three relievers kept the Braves in check.
The Pirates got the lead with a pair of unearned runs off Mickey Mahler. Following a double by Phil Garner and a walk to Dale Berra, Steve Nicosia reached on an error by shortstop Darrel Chaney. That let in one run and a two-out single by Omar Moreno plated another.
Atlanta threatened in the bottom half, getting runners on the corners with one out. Candelaria snuffed that out by fanning Chaney and getting Mahler on a grounder.
The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth. With two out, the Candy Man walked Jerry Royster and Gary Matthews went deep to tie the game.
The tie didn’t last long. Bill Robinson led off the top of the sixth with his fifth home run.
After a bottom of the scoreless sixth, Candelaria departed and Ed Whitson came on for the seventh. Candelaria gave up six hits and a walk in his six innings.
Whitson got through the seventh and eighth without much trouble, and the Pirates extended their lead to 4-2 in the top of the ninth, against reliever Rick Mahler. Moreno led off with a single, his third hit of the game, and scored on a double by Tim Foli.
Whitson came back for the ninth, but walked the first two hitters. That brought on Grant Jackson to face the left-handed Mike Lum. Atlanta countered with a right-handed hitter, Charlie Spikes, but Jackson got him on a lineout. Kent Tekulve then came in to face two right-handed hitters, Royster and Matthews, and got them on fly balls. Teke picked up his first save of the year and Candelaria’s record improved to 2-1. With a Mets’ loss to the Dodgers, the Pirates climbed out of a last-place tie in the NL East.