ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman heard fans calling his name and, with dark clouds moving in, he knew the grounds crew had just removed the cover from the infield tarp.
What better time for a game-winning hit?
Freeman's single to the center-field wall scored Jason Heyward from second base with two outs in the 10th inning on Sunday, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
"You live for moments like that when you want to be a big league player," Freeman said. "You hear the crowd chanting your name and you want to come through. So it was a pretty cool moment."
Freeman's big hit saved the game from an almost certain wait through bad weather.
"I was like, 'Yes, we don't have to go to any more innings and we won't have a rain delay,'" Freeman said. "We were all thinking about it."
Sure enough, minutes after the postgame celebration ended on the field, a thunderstorm brought lightning and heavy rain to Turner Field.
Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and Atlanta's Julio Teheran were spectacular. Each allowed only three hits in eight scoreless innings before giving way to relievers.
"It was a great game," Cueto said through a translator. "We both competed. Things went good for us, him and me."
Cueto struck out 11. He has allowed only one run in his last three starts, leaving him with a 1.15 ERA.
Teheran also has given up just one run in his last three starts. His 1.47 ERA has helped the Braves' starters lead the majors with their 1.57 mark.
"He just keeps getting better and better," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
With two outs in the 10th, Heyward hit a single up the middle off J.J. Hoover (1-3). B.J. Upton followed with a grounder that bounced off Hoover's glove toward shortstop for an infield hit.
"I thought I had it and it kind of hit a second gear and just tipped out of my glove," Hoover said.
Left-hander Manny Parra was summoned to face Freeman, who hit a second-pitch fastball for a drive that bounced on the warning track beyond center fielder Billy Hamilton's reach.
Braves players swarmed Freeman at second base following Atlanta's first three-game sweep of the Reds since 2008.
Freeman tried to duck from the swarm of congratulatory slaps and swats.
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