Just hours after striking out four times Saturday, Jason Heyward ripped a three-run double to give the Atlanta Braves the momentum they need to complete a three-game of the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Heyward's double in the third inning proved to also be the margin of victory for the Braves in the 7-4 win that also saw Tommy Hanson pick up his first win since April 27. Hanson went five-plus innings and gave up only one run on five hits while striking out nine.
Though Lance Lynn was only charged with the runs Heyward drove in, the Braves patience paid off to give the righty his first loss of the season, dropping him to 6-1. He threw 121 pitches in just six innings, and Braves fouled off 35 pitches off Cardinals pitchers.
Heyward fouled off three straight pitches from Lynn before he belted the 10th pitch of the at-bat into the right field corner. Heyward went 3-for-15 for the series, and two of his hits were game-winners, including a two-run homer in the 12th inning Friday night.
Hanson, meanwhile, improved his record to 4-3 by largely keeping the Cardinals off the bases through the first five innings. Entering the sixth, he had only given up two singles to Rafael Furcal. Carlos Beltran then spoiled the shutout with a lead-off homer in the sixth. Allen Craig and Lance Berkman followed with singles, resulting in Hanson getting the hook for Chad Durbin, who recorded one out, who then made way for Eric O'Flaherty to strike out a pinch-hitting Tyler Greene with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Braves fans had cause for concern when Hanson walked Furcal and John Jay to being the game. After they each stole bases to put themselves in scoring position with no out, Hanson struck out the next five Cardinal hitters.
Atlanta would tack on three more runs in the seventh when Prado singled home Tyler Pastornicky. Freeman and Uggla backed up Prado with consecutive RBI-doubles.
Christhian Martinez threw 1 2/3 innings, but allowed a three-run homer to Craig in the ninth to allow the Cardinals to climb to 7-4, but Jonny Venters came in and promptly struck out Lance Berkman to end the game.
The Braves return home Monday for a two-game set with the Cincinnati Reds. The Braves will look to give Jonny Cueto his first loss, while Tim Hudson will look to build on his hard luck loss against the Chicago Cubs at 7:10.
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