Jason Heyward hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, and Freddie Freeman continued his hot hitting with a blast of his own as the Atlanta Braves ended Wednesday afternoon's contest with the New York Yankees in a 5-5 tie.
Heyward's immense talent was on full display on Wednesday, as he collected two hits and made two run-saving plays in the outfield. His game-tying home run was a two-run shot with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Out in the field, he scaled the wall to rob Raul Ibanez of a two-run homer and later made a diving catch in center field.
“At this point for me it kind of feels like the regular season,” he said. “We’re down to the last six [spring training] games now. You want to get ready to go and you want to have those kind of at-bats and have those kind of defensive plays already in your mind and having already physically made them. I wish it was the regular season, but it kind of feels like it anyway."
Heyward struggled mightily in the 2011 season, due in part to the mechanical adjustments he made to his swing as he battled a shoulder injury. Manager Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves are looking for Heyward to rebound, and he will undoubtedly play a huge role throughout the season.
“He did everything,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He showed us what he can do, he really did. He gave us a little appetizer hopefully for the season … because he’s a big part of our offense.”
With Heyward having such a big day, Freeman was lost in the shuffle. However, he knocked a solo homer off of Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda to continue his torrid pace at the plate. Wednesday's homer was his sixth of the spring and the fifth long ball in his last eight at-bats.
Brandon Beachy provided a quality start for the Braves, going six innings and giving up two earned runs on six hits to go along with two strikeouts.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen, but Eric O'Flaherty got roughed up a bit, giving up two runs in his inning of work.
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