PITTSBURGH — Matt Joyce homered among his three hits and drove in three runs, Gregory Polanco had three hits and three runs scored, and Jon Niese pitched six effective innings to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-5 victory over theAtlanta Braves on Monday night.
Joyce stepped into the starting lineup and played right field as left fielder Starling Marte was placed on the paternity list before the game after his wife gave birth to a daughter in the morning. Polanco moved from right field to left to take Marte's spot.
Joyce connected for his fifth home run, a two-run shot deep into the left-field bleachers, off Alexi Ogando in the seventh inning to increase the Pirates' lead to 8-2.
Niese (4-2) allowed two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks. It was just Niese's third quality start in eight outings this season, though the Pirates are 6-2 in the games he has pitched, and he improved his career record against the Braves to 10-6.
Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 12th save in 13 opportunities.
David Freese had two of the 13 hits by the Pirates (20-17). Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison each drove in two runs.
The Braves lost for the ninth time in 11 games in falling to a major league-worst 9-28.
Atlanta's runs came on a pair of home runs — a two-run shot by Jeff Francoeur in the sixth inning off Niese that made it 6-2 and a three-run shot by Kelly Johnson in the eighth off Cory Luebke that cut the deficit to 8-5.
It was the first multi-homer game since opening day for the Braves, who have gone deep just 11 times in 37 games, easily the lowest figure in the major leagues. Francoeur and Johnson both connected for the first time this season.
Williams Perez (1-1) gave up six runs and nine hits in six innings. In his previous start, he held Philadelphia to one run and two hits in eight innings for the win last Wednesday.
Johnson and Freddie Freeman had two hits each for the Braves.
The Pirates jumped on Perez for three runs in the first inning. The first scored on a wild pitch and second on a ground out by Cervelli before Joyce capped the inning with an RBI single.
A two-run third increased the lead to 5-0. Cervelli singled in a run and Harrison drove in a run on a ground out.
Harrison had another RBI in the fifth when he tripled into the right-field corner