ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley knew he had a good chance to score from first base as soon as Ozzie Albies made contact.
The power-hitting left fielder just didn’t know whether he’d get the green light from third base coach Ron Washington.
“I knew it was in the gap, so run as hard as I can,” Riley said. “If he wants to stop me, he’ll stop me. He didn’t stop me. A good hit by Ozzie and a good team win.”
Riley tied the game with a solo homer in the ninth inning and scored the winning run on Albies’ double off Michael Feliz in the 11th, leading the Atlanta Braves past the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 for their sixth straight victory Wednesday night.
The Braves (39-29) took over sole possession of first place in the NL East and moved 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Josh Bell hit a tiebreaking solo homer off Atlanta closer Luke Jackson in the top of the ninth. Riley, who had a two-run triple in the first, took Kyle Crick deep to make it 7-all in the bottom half.
After Riley was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the 11th, Albies drove a gapper into right-center and Riley slid headfirst across the plate to end it.
“As soon as I hit it in the gap,” Albies said, “I knew he would score and win this game.”
Jacob Webb (4-0) pitched two innings to earn the victory.
Feliz (2-3) took the loss.
Rain delayed the game for 55 minutes in the seventh.
Braves starter Mike Soroka allowed career highs of five runs and 10 hits in five innings. The 21-year-old began the night having given up one run or less in nine of 10 starts this season, but did not factor in the decision. Soroka, whose ERA rose 54 points to 1.92, walked one and struck out three.
Atlanta led 3-0 in the first on Nick Markakis’ opposite-field RBI single and Riley’s triple. The Braves were up 4-2 in the second after Freddie Freeman’s RBI single and 6-2 in the third following Soroka’s two-run single.
Pittsburgh made it 3-2 in the second on RBI singles by Adam Frazier and Elías Díaz and 6-4 in the fourth on Kevin Newman’s two-run double. Starling Marte’s 10th homer cut the margin to 6-5 in the fifth.
The Pirates tied it 6-all in the sixth against Josh Tomlin. Gregory Polanco had a pinch-hit single, advanced to third on Newman’s single and scored on Corey Dickerson’s sacrifice fly.
“We had our backs against the wall a little bit, but we battled back and gave ourselves a chance,” said Bell, who leads the majors with 61 RBIs. “It’s good mojo going into tomorrow.”
Mitch Keller, making his second career start for Pittsburgh, allowed six runs and 10 hits in three innings. His ERA rose 1.93 points to 15.43.
Pirates: Director of sports medicine Tom Tomcyzk said C Francisco Cervelli, on the injured list since May 26 with a concussion, has no symptoms and is scheduled to be re-examined by a neurologist in the next couple of days. Tomcyzk said Cervelli feels normal in everyday life, but has yet to be cleared. The 33-year-old Cervelli has a long history with head injuries during his 12-year career, including six documented concussions since 2011.
Braves: CF Ender Inciarte, on the injured list since May 15 with a lumbar strain, still has no timetable to resume baseball activities. “It’s still biting him a bit. I think he has good days, has bad days, taking it a day at a time,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s not in that position now to even look ahead where he might — until he starts running the bases, hitting and all that stuff.”
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson saved a run in the third. Running into left field, he bumped into third baseman Josh Donaldson a bit as both players pursued the shallow fly. Swanson called off Donaldson and Riley to turn and make a difficult basket catch.
The rookie slugger became the fastest player in franchise history to reach 10 homers, doing so in 26 games to break the mark set by Wally Berger of the Boston Braves in 1930. Riley also tied Earl Torgeson of the 1947 Boston Braves as the quickest to 29 RBIs, in 26 games. … Riley had his left hand wrapped in ice after the game. He said he was sore from getting hit by the pitch, but not in pain.
The Braves signed their first-round draft pick, Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers. Atlanta chose Langeliers with the ninth overall selection, which it received as compensation for not signing last year’s No. 8 pick, pitcher Carter Stewart.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (4-6, 4.40 ERA) starts for the second time in the four-game series after getting ejected in the first inning Monday following a confrontation with Donaldson.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (4-3, 3.03) is 2-0 with a 0.70 ERA in his last seven starts.