KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Atlanta Braves left-hander Chuck James overcame control problems to throw five scoreless innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.57 in a six-nothing victory over the Cleveland Indiands.
First baseman Scott Thorman hit his first homer and drove in three runs for the Braves.
James gave up only four hits but walked three batters. He loaded the bases with two walks after Casey Blake's double, but he pitched out of the jam.
The Braves have four starters with ERA's under 2.00: Lance Cormier, 1.29; Tim Hudson, 1.80; John Smoltz, 1.93, and Buddy Carlyle, who has not allowed a run in ten innings.
Overall, Braves starters have a 2.25 ERA this spring, allowing 18 earned runs in 72 innings.
Thorman, who was named the Braves' starting first baseman before spring training, hit a two-run homer off Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning. He showed the power stroke that convinced Braves general manager John Schuerholz to trade Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh for reliever Mike Gonzalez and minor league shortstop Brent Lillibridge.
Aaron Fultz gave up four runs in two innings. Brian McCann hit a run-scoring triple off Fultz in the sixth inning. Doug Clark drove in pinch-runner Jonathan Schuerholz with a double to right, and Thorman added a run-scoring single.
Willie Harris led off the seventh with a double and scored on Brayan Pena's single for a 4-0 lead.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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