ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Torii Hunter ended a home run drought of 28 games with a go-ahead shot off Derek Lowe, rookie Tyler Chatwood pitched seven strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Sunday in the rubber game of their interleague series.
Chatwood (3-2) allowed a run and five hits, struck out six and walked two. It was the third time in the right-hander's last four starts that he allowed only one run, including a pair of no-decisions at Angel Stadium against the Indians and White Sox. Last Tuesday, Chatwood lasted only 2 1-3 innings in a 14-0 loss at Oakland after giving up seven runs — five earned.
Scott Downs pitched a perfect eighth and Jordan Walden got three outs for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Lowe (3-4) threw 108 pitches over six innings, allowing three runs, five hits and a season-high five walks while striking out five. It was the fifth time this season that the 37-year-old right-hander made 100 or more pitches without reaching the seventh.
The Angels, who had lost six of seven, got back to the .500 mark while manager Mike Scioscia was in South Bend, Ind., attending his son Matt's graduation from Notre Dame. Bench coach Rob Picciolo ran the club during Scioscia's absence.
The game began inauspiciously for the Braves when leadoff hitter Nate McLouth checked his swing on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt and strained a muscle on his left side. Pinch-hitter Diory Hernandez had to finish the at-bat and grounded out before getting his glove and going to third base — forcing Martin Prado, right fielder Joe Mather and left fielder Eric Hinske to switch from their original defensive positions.
Mather, who helped rally the Braves from a 4-0 deficit Saturday night with a three-run homer and a go-ahead double in the 12th inning of a 5-4 victory, opened the scoring against Chatwood with a run-scoring single after a two-out double by Freddie Freeman.
But Hunter gave the Angels a 2-1 lead in the fourth with his fifth homer of the season and first in 99 at-bats since his two-run shot against Boston's Josh Beckett on April 21 at Anaheim. The four-time All-Star drove a 2-1 pitch to left field after a leadoff walk to Bobby Abreu, putting Hunter within seven RBIs of 1,000.
Hunter led off the sixth with a double and scored on a groundout by rookie Alexi Amarista. Abreu drove in the Angels' final run in the seventh with his 534th double, tying Lou Gehrig for 32nd place on the career list.
NOTES: Braves RHP Tim Hudson, who gave up eight runs over 3 2-3 innings and hit three batters during his 9-0 loss to the Angels on Friday night, returned to Atlanta to have his back examined is expected to miss his scheduled start Wednesday at Pittsburgh. LHP Mike Minor will be recalled from Triple-A to make his 10th big league start, and a corresponding move will be made Wednesday. ... Angels leading hitter Howie Kendrick missed his third straight game because of tightness in his right hamstring. ... Hall of Famer Don Sutton came out of the Braves' radio both to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on the same field where he recorded his 300th career victory on June 18, 1986, while pitching for the Angels. ... Picciolo, in his first season as Angels bench coach after five seasons as their roving infield coordinator, managed the San Diego Padres' rookie-level team at Spokane, Wash., in the Northwest League from 1986-87. ... Mather's career-high four RBIs on Saturday made him the first Braves player to drive in that many runs from the ninth spot in the batting order since June 8, 1959, when RHP Lew Burdette went 4 for 4 with a three-run double and an RBI double against the Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee's County Stadium. ... Chipper Jones, who has played a season-high six straight games without an RBI, got the day off. Jones' 1,518 RBI are the second-most by a switch-hitter behind Eddie Murray's 1,917. ... The Braves had only two hits after Prado's one-out single in the third.