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McCann plates four as Braves beat Sox

    ATLANTA — Curt Schilling was missing his overpowering stuff. Brian McCann and the Braves sure took advantage of it.
    McCann homered and drove in four runs off Schilling, who endured his first strikeout-free start since 1993 in Atlanta’s 9-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
    Schilling was rocked for 10 hits and six runs in 4 1-3 innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. More telling, the 40-year-old right-hander failed to strike out anyone — the first time that’s happened in one of his starts since July 1, 1993.
    Coco Crisp homered twice for the Red Sox, and J.D. Drew went deep for Boston’s other run. But McCann outdid them both, putting the Braves ahead for good with an RBI double in the fourth and chasing Schilling (6-4) the next inning.
    With one out, Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones hit consecutive singles to bring up Atlanta’s young catcher. McCann worked the count in his favor, then drove a 2-1 pitch into the seats just to the right of the 400-foot sign.
    The three-run homer put Atlanta ahead 6-1 and offset a trio of solo homers by the Red Sox, who sat one of their biggest offensive stars. With no designated hitter in the NL park, David Ortiz was limited to a pinch-hitting role.
    Crisp had the first multihomer game of his career, the second of which ended the night for Atlanta starter Chuck James (6-6). But the left-hander lasted long enough for the win, giving up five hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings.
    James snapped a two-game skid and won for the first time in four starts.
    Schilling has endured a lingering hangover from his near no-hitter at Oakland on June 7, which was broken up with two outs in the ninth. In his last two starts, he’s given up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in 9 1-3 innings.
    The six runs allowed to the Braves were a season high for Schilling, while the stint of 4 1-3 innings was his shortest since opening day. In that one, he lasted only four innings at Kansas City for his briefest start since 2001.
    Boston jumped ahead in the second on Crisp’s first homer of the night, a drive just inside the left-field pole. Atlanta tied it on Kelly Johnson’s sacrifice fly in the third and took control with two more runs in the fourth.
    In addition to McCann’s RBI double, James helped the cause with a two-out, run-scoring single — silencing thousands of Red Sox fans in the sellout crowd of 47,562.
    Scott Thorman added a two-run homer for the Braves in the seventh.
Notes: Schilling had made 348 starts since his last one without a strikeout. ... McCann’s four RBIs were one off his career high. ... The Braves used a radical infield shift when Ortiz pinch-hit in the eighth, with 3B Chipper Jones lining up in the shortstop position and everyone else to the right of the second-base bag. In fact, 2B Kelly Johnson was stationed in short right field. As it was, Ortiz popped out near the left-field line, with Jones making a long run for the catch. ... Boston dropped to 8-5 in interleague play this season. The Braves improved to 4-6. ... It rained hard in the top of the sixth, but tapered off by the bottom half without the game being interrupted.

Chipper ready to test ailing wrists at third base
    Chipper Jones was back at third base for the Braves on Monday night, the first full test for his ailing wrists.
    Jones spent five games as a designated hitter after coming off the disabled list last week, but the DH wasn’t in use as the Braves returned home for an interleague series against Boston.
    ‘‘It’s going to hurt,’’ he said, but quickly added, ‘‘I’m going to have to deal with it at some point.’’
    While Jones could try to avoid diving for any balls hit toward third, it’s hard for a fielder to make that sort of split-second decision in the heat of a game.
    ‘‘To a certain extent, you can control when you dive,’’ Jones said. ‘‘In a big situation, playing third base, it’s just reaction. You do it without thinking. You don’t have much time to negotiate whether you dive or not.’’
    The sore wrists are also affecting him at the plate, though Jones came into the night with a six-game hitting streak.
    ‘‘I’m not driving balls like I want to,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s affected my ability to get the balls into the gaps, off the wall and over the wall. But hopefully it will come back soon.’’
    Jones, who has been plagued by injuries over four straight seasons, plans to play through the latest setback — especially with the Braves battling the New York Mets for first place in the NL East.
    ‘‘I pretty much expect to be in there every day,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s not much you can do. You’re in the middle of a division race like we are, you can’t be taking days off. You can’t afford it right now. With some guys in the middle of our lineup struggling, I need to be in there.’’
    Jones, who prefers to hit in the third spot, batted cleanup against the Red Sox. The Braves couldn’t afford to bump hot-hitting Willie Harris, so he batted second and Edgar Renteria dropped to third.
    ‘‘You want to take advantage of the guys who are swinging the bat well,’’ said Jones, who batted cleanup for only the fourth time all season. ‘‘Obviously I’d rather hit third, but I’m not complaining about hitting fourth when those guys are swinging that good. It’s another bullet in the holster.’’
    Then again, Jones’ return to the field forced the Braves to sit another of their hot hitters, rookie Yunel Escobar, hitting .306.
    ‘‘Honestly, the kid deserves to play,’’ Jones said. ‘‘He’s gotten some big hits, played pretty good third base. He’s going to continue to get his at-bats — I don’t know where — in the immediate future.’’
    Manager Bobby Cox wants to keep Escobar in the big leagues, even if he’s not a regular starter.
    ‘‘He’s played so great. If somebody needs a day off, he can certainly go in there,’’ Cox said. ‘‘We don’t want to do the wrong thing and not play him at all. He’s a pretty good bat off the bench as well, when he’s not playing.’’

No Ortiz
    With lefty Chuck James on the mound and the designated hitter not in use, the Braves caught a break when the lineups were announced.
    The Red Sox decided to sit David Ortiz, who was hitting .333 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs. He has played only two games at first base this season, spending most of his time as the DH.
    Of course, the extra hitter is not being used for the three-game interleague series at Turner Field.
    ‘‘It’s hard not to write his name in there,’’ Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. ‘‘If something happens, if somebody gets hit in the elbow, those things change.’’
    Right-handed hitter Kevin Youkilis, who was batting .332 with eight homers and 35 RBIs, started at first base.
    Francona said he talked over the lineup with bench coach Brad Mills on the flight to Atlanta, and made sure to tell Ortiz and Youkilis before the plane landed.
    ‘‘Just so they know what to expect,’’ Francona said. ‘‘Because they play every day and one of them can’t play, so I want to make sure they understand, so they can prepare.’’

Odds and Ends
    The Braves plan to stick with their five-man rotation, even with an off day coming up on Thursday. That’s good news for struggling RHP Kyle Davies, who could have been skipped over during a weekend series against Detroit.

    AP freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd contributed to this report.

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