Heyward lifts Braves past Rockies, 4-3 in ninth
ATLANTA – Rookie Jason Heyward drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 comeback win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
The Braves rallied in the ninth off Rockies fill-in closer Franklin Morales (0-1), who loaded the bases by giving up a single and two walks.
The Braves won two of three against Colorado, which took a 4-0 win on Ubaldo Jimenez’s no-hitter on Saturday night.
The Braves didn’t take long to show they wouldn’t be held without a hit for the second straight game. Matt Diaz led off the first with a triple to center field. Martin Prado drove in Diaz with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Eric O’Flaherty (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth in relief of Jair Jurrjens.
Martin Prado led off the ninth with a single to left off Morales. After an out and with Brian McCann at the plate, Morales balked, sending Prado to second base and bringing Rockies manager Jim Tracy on the field for an animated but brief argument with second-base umpire Damien Beal.
Morales walked McCann, who was replaced by pinch-runner Nate McLouth. Troy Glaus was called safe on a close play at first on his fielder’s choice grounder which forced McLouth out at second but advanced Prado to third base. Yunel Escobar walked on four straight balls to load the bases for Heyward.
With many in the crowd of 26,546 standing, Heyward took two balls, then two strikes, before lining the single to left field to drive in Prado and Brooks Conrad, who was running for Glaus. The hit sparked an on-field celebration around Heyward near second base.
Heyward, who leads the Braves with 15 RBIs, was 1 for 3 with three RBIs and two walks. He is hitting .302.
Morales has blown two of his four saves opportunities.
Carlos Gonzalez gave Colorado a 3-2 lead with an eighth-inning homer off Jurrjens. Gonzalez lined his first homer of the season just inside the foul pole in right field to lead off the eighth.
The Braves led 2-1 before Ian Stewart tied the game with a seventh-inning homer.
Jurrjens, recovering from the worst start of his career, gave up five hits and three runs in eight innings. He walked three and had nine strikeouts. The right-hander gave up a career-high eight runs in a 17-2 loss to San Diego on Monday.
Greg Smith gave up five hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings. He matched his career high with seven walks, including one intentional, and struck out five.
The Rockies tied it 1-all in the second when Troy Tulowitzki doubled and scored on Stewart’s single to right field.
Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the third when Smith walked Heyward to force in a run.
Diaz, starting against the left-handed Smith, had three hits to match the total of Atlanta leadoff hitters in the team’s first 11 games. Entering Sunday’s games, Braves leadoff hitters ranked last in the major leagues in hitting at 3 for 46 (.065) with one double, according to STATS, Inc.
Diaz hit leadoff for the third time this season.
NOTES: Stewart’s homer was his third. … Rockies LHP Joe Beimel picked Jones off second base in the seventh. It was the second Atlanta baserunner picked off second base in as many days, following Kenshin Kawakami on Saturday. … Prado, backing up to chase Seth Smith’s short pop fly in the sixth, collided with Beal and both fell to the ground. Melky Cabrera ran in from center field to make the catch. Prado and Beal were not injured.
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