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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heyward Strikes Again; Braves Pull Out Wild Win To Win Series


The game was a hundredth of a second from being over on Troy Glaus's groundout. A walk later, the game was over as Heyward bailed out his team with a two-run single, getting the Braves a 4-3 victory.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, who faced cocerns due to his drop in velocity in his terrible start agsinst San Diego, pitched eight strong innings, becoming the first Brave to go past the seventh this season.

However, it was almost all for naught.

The Braves took the lead in the first inning when Matt Diaz led off with the Braves' first hit, a tripe to right-center. This was the Braves first hit since Brooks Conrad's double in the eighth inning of Friday's win. Diaz came home on Martin Prado's liner to left fielder Seth Smith. They would have had a second run in the second inning on Matt Diaz's single to right, but Carlos Gonzalez threw Melky Cabrera at the plate trying to score.

The Rockies answered quickly in the second inning with a double by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and a one-out RBI single by third baseman Ian Stewart. The Braves took the lead again when Jason Heyward walked with the bases loaded and two out. Rockies starter Greg Smith got Cabrera to strike out to prevent anymore runs from scoring.

The next few innings were dominated by Jurrjens and more missed opportunties by the Braves. Matt Diaz doubled with one out in the fourth, but was stranded there. In the seventh, Chipper Jones walked and moved to second base on McCann's flyout, but was picked off by reliever Joe Beimel. Jason Heyward drew a walk from Rafael Betancourt to lead off the eighth, was sacrified to second and moved to third on a wild pitch with Eric Hinske at the plate. But he was stranded as Hinske grounded to first and Diaz flew out to center fielder Dexter Fowler on the first pitch.

By that time, Jurrjens had been victimized by two solo home runs. With one out in the seventh, Ian Stewart yanked a ball down the right field line to tie the game. Carlos Gonzalez then led off the eighth inning by hitting a fastball similar to Stewart down the right field line. That gave the Rockies a 3-2 lead. Jurrjens finished the inning with two strikeouts and a foul fly to Escobar. He allowed just five hits and three walks, striking out nine Rockies, but he was slated to take the loss.

Closer Franklin Morales came in to finish the game for the Rockies. Here's how the inning transpired:

  • Prado led off with a single.
  • Prado advances to second base on a balk.
  • Jones flies out to center field.
  • McCann walks and is replaced by pinch-runner Nate McLouth.
  • Troy Glaus bounces to Todd Helton off first, who throws to second to force McLouth. Glaus beats the return throw to Morales at first base. Brooks Conrad replaces Glaus as a pinch-runner.
  • Yunel Escobar walks.
  • Heyward grounds a single to left field, Prado and Conrad score.

Frankly, I can't think of anything else to say other than this is a game I'm glad the Braves won.

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