clear
Sunday May 3rd, 2015 11:54AM

Heyward sparks Braves' 7-1 rout of Phillies

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- The Braves found the solution for their September slump - Phillies rookie Tyler Cloyd.

Jason Heyward's leadoff home run sparked a five-run first inning and the Braves shook off what has been a chilly September at the plate with a 7-1 win over the Phillies on Thursday night.

"It is good to get hits," said Heyward, who had a career-high five, including three doubles. "Good to get on base and get the game going early. We are still playing for something."

The win pulled the Braves even with the idle Cardinals at 94-65 for the best record in the National League with three games to play. The Braves won the season-series against the Cardinals and would win the NL's No. 1 seed if the teams finish tied.

"It is a big spot," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We'll try to win tomorrow and keep guys healthy at the same time."

Braves catcher Bryan McCann left the game in the second inning with an adductor strain. After the game, Gonzalez said he thinks McCann will be OK and wanted to avoid having something small get worse.

After scoring just three runs in a three-game series loss to the Brewers, the Braves entered Thursday averaging 3.3 runs per game in September. They surpassed that in just six batters against the Phillies when Chris Johnson doubled home Evan Gattis to give the Braves a 4-0 lead in the first.

Braves rookie David Hale (1-0) picked up his first win in his second career start, going six innings while giving up one run and striking out five. The right-hander allowed six base runners in the first three innings, but settled down after that and cruised to the win. In two starts since getting called up from Triple-A, Hale has given up one run in 11 innings.

"It is amazing, especially to (get my first win) at home," said Hale, who grew up in nearby Marietta. "I was a little more relaxed, but still nervous. I just kept the ball down and it turned out all right."

Cloyd (2-7) had been struggling, surrendering 17 runs in 13 innings in his previous three September starts, and the right-hander did not see a turnaround against the Braves. He gave up seven runs on eight hits and did not retire any of the first four batters in the second inning before being pulled.

"It was just bad. I wasn't executing any pitches and they were hitting the ball hard," Cloyd said. "I wouldn't say nothing was working, but everything was where they could hit it."

The decisive first began with Heyward's home run on Cloyd's first pitch of the night. Elliot Johnson followed with a single, and Freddie Freeman doubled him home. Gattis then hit an RBI single, and scored on Chris Johnson's double. Jordan Schafer brought in the final run of the frame with an RBI single.

Gattis ended Cloyd's night with a two-run double in the second that scored Heyward and Elliot Johnson.

"Cloyd had a hard time with his first-pitch strikes and also had trouble with two strikes," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "They were still able to barrel balls up pretty good and before you know it, it was 7-0."

Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 for the Phillies, who have lost seven of eight.

NOTES: Injured Braves starter Brandon Beachy had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Thursday. Gonzalez said Beachy should be ready to return by the first couple of weeks of spring training. ... Gonzalez is undecided on his fourth starter for the upcoming NLDS. He is choosing between Freddy Garcia and Paul Malhom. Gonzalez thought both pitchers pitched well this week and said it will be a tough decision. ... Injured Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was at Turner Field, re-joining the team from Clearwater, Fla., where he had been rehabbing his left knee. Howard said it was important to him to finish the season with his teammates. "I just wanted to watch and cheer these guys on the rest of the way and hopefully try to end things on a good note and head into 2014 on a high." ... The Braves have matched their 94 wins from 2012, when they earned a wild card spot.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
Falcons fire offensive, defensive line coaches
The Atlanta Falcons have fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn.
7:02PM ( 1 year ago )
Best, worst of Falcons' 4-12 season
Best Game: They'd been eliminated from playoff contention previous week vs. New Orleans, but the Falcons showed some heart with Dec. 1 overtime victory over Bills in Toronto.
6:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Gonzalez's career ends with another Falcons loss
Tony Gonzalez is ready for the next chapter of his life.
9:47PM ( 1 year ago )
Professional Sports
Coach Quinn believes 1st NFL draft with Falcons a success
General manager Thomas Dimitroff and new coach Dan Quinn say the Atlanta Falcons got exactly what they were looking for on the last day of the NFL draft.
3:40PM ( 3 hours from now )
Golf: Red Elephants surge back to claim Invite crown over Marist
The Gainesville boys golf team staged a second-round comeback on Saturday to claim The Invite crown at Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville.
11:53AM ( 1 minute ago )
David Ragan ready to move to Michael Waltrip Racing
David Ragan’s tenure in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota comes to an end with the GEICO 500 and he’ll be moving onto his third team in 11 races—“a little weird, for sure,” he acknowledged—when the Sprint Cup schedule resumes at Kansas Speedway on May 9.
By Mark McCarter-NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
Reds notch 8-4 win over Braves
Jay Bruce powered two long triples, Marlon Byrd broke out of his slump and Zack Cozart had three hits to lead the Reds to an 8-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
10:42PM ( 13 hours ago )
American Pharoah gives trainer a long-awaited 4th Derby win
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Three times in seven years, Bob Baffert left the Kentucky Derby empty-handed. Two seconds and a sixth-place finish by the wagering favorite.After a while, those close calls star...
9:28PM ( 14 hours ago )