UK Baseball

Ex-Cat Scott Downs wins debut with Braves on same day he's traded from Angels

Scott Downs never imagined his career taking such a wild turn.

"You have to chuckle," he said with a grin, "because you couldn't have written it any better."

After the Los Angeles Angels' charter flight landed in Dallas about 12:30 a.m., Downs learned 10 hours later that he had been traded to the Atlanta Braves.

The left-handed reliever took the first flight available Monday and arrived at Turner Field about 10 minutes before the first pitch.

By 11:15 p.m., Downs had earned the win in the Braves' 9-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies in 10 innings.

"Different city, different team, different everything," said Downs, who pitched in college at Kentucky. "But that's life. That's baseball. It's not that hard of a transition."

Andrelton Simmons drove in Dan Uggla from first base with a triple off Edgmer Escalona in the 10th to give the Braves their fourth straight victory.

After Uggla led off with a walk, Simmons hit the ball too deep into the gap in left-center field for Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler to keep it from reaching the wall.

Downs (1-0) gave up one hit and struck out one in 1 1-3 innings, but it was a strange experience.

After taking a shower during the game, Downs went to the bullpen and introduced himself to his new teammates.

He had to rescue his former Angels teammate, right-hander Jordan Walden, who blew the save in the ninth and left the bases loaded. Downs escaped the jam by making just one pitch, a liner he caught on the mound from Todd Helton.

In the 10th, Downs gave up a leadoff single, but got the next three outs to keep the score tied. Not long after that, he said he was excited to join a Braves team with the biggest division lead in the majors at nine games.

"It's great I'm in a situation to win," Downs said. "It's any athlete's dream to be wanted. I've been welcomed with open arms."

Escalona (1-4) allowed one hit, one run and one walk in 12 pitches.

Gonzalez went 5-for-5 with two RBI after missing the last three games with a sprained middle right finger. He drove in the tying run in the ninth off Walden.

Atlanta's offense bailed out starting pitcher Brandon Beachy, who made his first start in 13 months after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Chris Johnson, who leads the NL with a .339 batting average, and Uggla each had two RBIs to help the Braves erase a 5-0 hole with six runs in the third inning, then rally from a two-run deficit in the fifth to make it 8-7.

Beachy gave up eight hits, a career-high seven runs and one walk with five strikeouts in 3 2-3 innings. He made 84 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Walden began the ninth because Braves closer Craig Kimbrel had the night off after earning saves in all three games against St. Louis last weekend.

Though he gave up two hits and walked two in two-thirds of an inning, Walden was glad to see Downs get the job done.

"He's a great guy," Walden said. "I don't even think he's met everyone yet. It's hard to introduce yourself in the middle of a game."