The Atlanta Braves delivered even more late-inning heroics Tuesday night at Turner Field, despite a 77-minute delay due to rain and power outages. Evan Gattis and his game-tying homer in the ninth and a walk-off single by Freddie Freeman pushed the Braves to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins and their fifth straight win.
Twins closer Glen Perkins had recorded two outs in the ninth before Gattis made his pinch-hit appearance, drilling a slider over the left field wall. Of Gattis' nine homers this year, three have been pinch-hit homers, and two of those have come on this homestand.
"You can't really explain it," Gattis said on braves.com. "It was just awesome."
That set up the 10th inning rally, which Jason Heyward started with a two-out double to left-center of Ryan Duensing, who intentionally walked Justin Upton to get the lefty-lefty matchup with Freddie Freeman. Freeman looped a 3-2 slider into right to drive in the winning run.
"It wasn't the prettiest swing, but it got it done," Freeman said.
The heroics wouldn't have been possible had the Braves bullpen recorded a rare blown save. The two runs the Twins scored in the eighth by way of RBI-singles from Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham were attributed to Luis Avilan, but Cory Gearrin took the hits and was credited with a blown save.
That blown save canceled out a gutsy performance from Tim Hudson, who returned to the mound even after a 77-minute rain delay with one out in the third.
Joe Mauer had singled with one out before the rain started to fall at the Ted, forcing the first delay. As Hudson started warming up on the mound, a panel of lights went out, forcing another 15-minute delay.
Regardless, after giving up an RBI-single to Justin Morneau to briefly tie the game 2-2, Hudson retired the final eight batters he faced in five innings.
Hudson also knew how important it was for him to put out a solid start with a short-handed bullpen.
"Honestly, it was never an option [to come out]," Hudson said. "If it had been another 20-minute delay, it might have been an issue. It's just one of those things where we had to get things going. Our bullpen is thin and the last thing you want to do is put six or seven innings on your bullpen with an [early] game [Wednesday]."
Freeman and Brian McCann gave the Braves an early lead with a two-run first with an RBI-double from Freeman and a run-scoring single by McCann off Twins starter Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey didn't continue after the delay, setting up McCann hitting a lead-off homer in the fourth off Anthony Swarzak
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