- Associated Press - Sunday, June 7, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Alex Wood disappointed Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez - not with his pitches, but his protest.

Wood got ejected in the fifth inning and Atlanta lost for the fourth time in five games, 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

“We love Woody to death, but he can’t put himself in position to even come close getting thrown of the game there,” Gonzalez said. “We didn’t do anything offensively after that, but you’d rather have Woody try to give you a couple of more innings and stay in the fight there.”

Gerrit Cole pitched seven scoreless innings to win his fourth straight start and Starling Marte had a two-run single in a three-run fifth.

Cole (9-2) allowed six hits, three walks and struck out seven, throwing 74 of his career-high 116 pitches for strikes. He leads the NL in victories and with a 1.73 ERA. His 13 wins over his last 17 starts lead the majors over that span.

Mark Melancon got his 18th save in 19 chances.

The Pirates have won five of six and 13 of 16.

Wood (4-3) gave up three runs and seven hits, walking one and striking out five. He was ejected after a conversation with home plate umpire Mark Carlson as he walked off the field following the third out.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate,” Wood said. “I didn’t try to show him up, didn’t say anything to him during the inning (and) didn’t know I got tossed until I got up into the clubhouse.”

Wood had won three straight starts with a 1.23 ERA during that span, but he dropped to 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in four starts this year at Turner Field.

The Braves’ tempers were testy after Cole hit Freddie Freeman in the right leg to load the bases in the third and escaped the jam by striking out Nick Markakis and getting Juan Uribe to ground out.

After Cole hit Andrelton Simmons in the left arm with a 99 mph fastball during the fourth, Simmons yelled back, but the situation didn’t escalate.

Wood threw inside at Cole, the second batter in the fifth, but apparently decided against hitting the pitcher as retribution and walked Cole on six pitches.

“I thought that two balls to him were strikes,” Wood said. “One of them probably wasn’t, but I think the frustration of the whole game leading up to that and then the three runs they scored that inning, too” led to the exchange with the umpire.

Following singles by Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer to load the bases, Wood struck out Andrew McCutchen, but Marte followed with a two-run single to make it 2-0, and Jung Ho Kang gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead with an RBI single.

Carlson warned both benches in the seventh when Brandon Cunniff threw behind McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP.

Cole struggled with his command in the sixth, walking two straight to load the bases, but the right-hander ended the threat by striking out pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich.

STILL GETTING IT DONE

Wood escaped a jam with runners on second and third in the first when Simmons, a two-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop, lunged to his right and made a turning jump off his left foot to throw out Kang at first.

In the fourth, Simmons robbed Kang by snagging a hard liner.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco had his knee iced before the game and did not start. Manager Clint Hurdle said Polanco was available to pinch-hit. Polanco, who tweaked his knee while on base Saturday, is hitting .400 in his last 40 at-bats.

Braves: OF Kelly Johnson will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. Johnson has missed 22 straight games with an oblique injury.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP A.J. Burnett (6-1) has won each of his last six starts and had a 1.45 ERA in the first five. He his 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 11 career starts against Milwaukee.

Braves: RHP Shelby Miller (5-2) will try to win for the first time in his last four starts. Against San Diego, Miller is 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA.

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