John Candelaria threw a complete game five-hitter and the Pirates benefited from five Atlanta errors in a 5-1 win over the Braves. Omar Moreno had three hits and his 37th stolen base to key the offense.
The Braves’ defensive woes started in the top of the second. Bill Robinson and Bill Madlock started the inning against the Braves’ Rick Matula with singles. The runners found themselves on second and third with two out, and then first baseman Bob Horner, who ended up committing three errors, booted the Candy Man’s grounder to let in a pair of runs.
Neither team threatened much until Horner struck again in the fifth. With Moreno and Dave Parker both on base after singles, Horner couldn’t field John Milner’s grounder, letting Moreno score to make it 3-0.
Candelaria meanwhile was breezing through the Braves’ lineup. Through six innings, the only runners came on two singles and a hit batsman.
In the top of the seventh, Moreno produced the only earned run the snakebit Matula would allow by leading off with his sixth homer of the season. Tim Foli followed with a double and, with two out, scored when third baseman Jerry Royster couldn’t come up with Robinson’s grounder.
Horner got some limited revenge when he led off the bottom of the seventh with a longball, spoiling Candelaria’s shutout. But after that, Atlanta could muster just two harmless singles.
The 5-1 win pushed Candelaria to 8-7. Moreno’s home run gave him 36 RBIs in just over half a season, already two above his career high. The Pirates pulled to within four games of first-place Montreal and one of third-place Philadelphia.