ATLANTA (Ticker) --
's latest audition was a sparkler in his childhood backyard.
Benson allowed five hits in eight innings and
homered and drove in three runs as the
held on for a 4-3 victory over the
The subject of numerous trade rumors as the July 31 deadline approaches, Benson (8-7) gave up just one hit over the first seven innings as he overpowered the Braves. The righthander retired 16 in a row after hitting
to lead off the third.
A native of nearby Marietta, Benson struck out four without a walk. The former top overall pick tired in the eighth, giving up three singles and a run that cut the deficit to 4-2.
A free agent at the end of the season, Benson dealt with a double dose of attention. In addition to scouts looking on, he was performing in front of 60 family members and friends from his hometown.
Benson said that he felt more pressure from his family and friends than the numerous scouts in attendance.
"You don't know the scouts are there, but you know if your family or friends are there," said Benson, who has surrendered a paltry nine earned runs over his last five starts. "My one buddy came down and yelled at (Pirates manager Lloyd) McClendon for taking me out of the game. But I kept my focus."
"You hear a lot about him going a lot of places," Braves manager
said. "I could see why. He had a great sinker and a good changeup. He threw a heavy ball. It was hard to hit off of him."
Benson won for the first time at Turner Field. He improved to 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA lifetime against Atlanta.
"I was kind of anxious to pitch today. I haven't faced the Braves in three or four years," said Benson, who last faced the Braves in 2000. "I felt a little pressure considering it had been a while. I had a lot of people there tonight, a lot of friends, a lot of family. I just tried to keep focused."
"I'm extremely proud of him," McClendon said. "His focus has been just outstanding. He's not letting (the trade rumors) affect him. He's just going about his business. He's really picked up the staff and everybody's feeding off of him."
J.D. Drew opened the ninth with his 23rd homer off
, extending his hitting streak to 18 games. Mesa followed by getting three groundouts to second base for his 27th save.
"You take it on the chin every now and then," said Drew, who is hitting .403 with seven homers during his streak. "Benson threw a great ballgame. If someone would have been on base there, it would have been a tie game, but that's how it goes."
Redman singled home a run in the first and belted a two-run homer in the sixth. Both hits came off Braves starter
(3-2), who gave up four runs, six hits and two walks in six innings, striking out three.
"I had a lot of friends and family here," said Redman, who hails from nearby Duncanville, Alabama. "I got a lot of support from them. One of them asked me, 'Why don't you hit a home run?' I was like, 'Yeah, right.' He basically called it.
Both teams came in with 16 wins in their last 21 games.
doubled in a run and scored in the first for the Pirates. The Braves fell one game behind first-place Philadelphia in the National League East.