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Atlanta Braves Remember How to Hit, Win on Balk

June 17th, 2011 at 12:41 AM
By Cody Fields

In one of the strangest games of the year, the Atlanta Braves fought past the New York Mets in the series finale in 10 innings, winning 9-8 on a walk-off balk.

The top of the Atlanta order cleaned up Thursday night, with Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones combining for 10 hits and six RBI, including the game winner by Heyward on a balk by D.J. Carrasco.

The game started innocently enough, as the first inning scoring was only on a Jones groundout to score Schafer.

Then things got interesting.

Jose Reyes led off the Mets' half of the third with a pop-up triple to center. Schafer made a diving attempt at a catch and missed. Though shortstop Alex Gonzalez was the closest to the ball, he had pulled off his route to the ball and did not see it. Justin Turner then singled home Reyes, and after a Carlos Beltran double, Daniel Murphy drove in Reyes on a sacrifice fly.

And then the Braves answered with a Schafer lead-off single – his first of a career high five hits – and Heyward reaching on an error by Reyes. Jones then hit his seventh homer of the year to right-center to put the score at 4-2.

Atlanta kept up the pressure in the bottom of the fourth as Heyward and Jones each hit RBI singles.

The top of the fifth saw Jason Bay driving in Turner, resulting in Mike Minor getting an early hook after only 4 1/3 innings with two runners on. Scott Proctor. Scott Hairston then hit his own three-run home run.

After an uneventful sixth, Jonny Venters gave up the lead with the bases loaded as Hairston struck out swinging, but a wild pitch allowed Beltran to score.

In the eighth Beltran grounded into what would have been a 5-4-3 double play, but a hard slide by Turner caused Dan Uggla to sail his throw to bring in Angel Pagan.

Francisco Rodriguez came in to close out the bottom of the ninth. After striking out Schafer, Heyward hit a single to right. Brooks Conrad, pinch hitting for Craig Kimbrel, proceeded to hit his sixth career pinch hit home run to force extra innings.

All this to set up the bottom of the 10th, which started with Carrasco issuing a lead-off walk to Eric Hinske. Alex Gonzalez then failed to get down a bunt, and grounded into a double play with an 0-2 count. Diory Hernandez followed with his first double of the year into the right field corner, which would have been the game winner. Schafer then legged out an infield hit to bring Heyward to the dish with runners on the corners and two outs.

Carrasco then committed the cardinal sin of pitching with an 0-1 count as he started to become set and hesitated.

"It's hard to swallow," Carrasco said. "This is gonna be a tough night for me."

The win keeps the Braves five games behind the Philadelphia Phillies – who again beat the Florida Marlins – in the National League East.

En route to tying his career high of 5 RBI, Chipper Jones tweaked his right abductor muscle, which is located near the groin. He left before the ninth inning and is listed as day-to-day.

Tommy Hanson was scratched from his start Friday against the Texas Rangers with shoulder tendinitis. Randall Delgado was called up from Double-A Mississippi to make his Major League debut. His counterpart for Texas will be Colby Lewis (5-7, 4.97 ERA).

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brooks Conrad, Chipper Jones, D.J. Carrasco, Jason Heyward, Jordan Schafer, Jose Reyes, New York Mets

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