Gattis, Freeman lead Braves past Twins 5-4 in 10th

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2013 at 12:02 am •  Published: May 22, 2013
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ATLANTA (AP) — Evan Gattis just keeps coming through for the Atlanta Braves.

The rookie hit a two-out, pinch-hit homer in the ninth to send the game to extra innings and Freddie Freeman won it in the 10th, sending the Braves to their fifth straight win, 5-4 over the slumping Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

Freeman blooped a two-out single off Brian Duensing (0-1) to bring home Jason Heyward, handing the Twins their seventh straight loss.

But Gattis was the talk of the clubhouse after his third pinch-hit homer of the season — and second in four days.

"I'm kind of getting used to it," he said with a shrug.

His teammates were left shaking their heads.

"It's awesome to see," said Braves starter Tim Hudson, who worked five solid innings despite a lengthy rain delay. "People around the league are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to make sure he doesn't put the ball in the seats."

Gattis, who surprisingly made the team as a non-roster player, has been a key contributor all season. He was NL rookie of the month in April, getting plenty of starts while the Braves battled a string of injuries. Now, with all the regulars healthy, he's showing what he can do off the bench. It was his ninth homer of the season, four of which have been tying or go-ahead shots in the eighth inning or later.

"I don't know how to explain it," Freeman said. "It's incomprehensible."

Duensing got the first two hitters in the 10th, but Heyward doubled off the wall in left-center. Justin Upton was intentionally walked before Freeman came through on a 3-2 pitch for his second RBI of the game.

"It wasn't the prettiest swing," Freeman said, "but it got the job done."

Gattis was looking for a pinch over the inside part of the plate.

He got just what he was looking for on an 0-1 slider from Twins closer Glen Perkins, sending a drive deep into the left-field seats.

"I was trying to hit the ball hard," Gattis said. "I don't try to hit home runs. It just happened."

Trevor Plouffe and Ryan Doumit had RBI singles in the eighth against the depleted Atlanta bullpen, giving the Twins a 4-3 lead. They were one out away from snapping their slide, but Perkins couldn't finish the job.

"I think he guessed right," Perkins said. "You've got to make good pitches. That guy, he's up there to do one thing, and he did it."

Craig Kimbrel (1-1) worked a scoreless 10th for the win.

Brian McCann homered and drove in two runs for the Braves, while Hudson pitched around a 1-hour, 26-minute rain delay — but they were afterthoughts in light of the dramatic comeback.

The Braves bullpen, which lost two key relievers to season-ending surgeries in the past week, surrendered the lead in the eighth. Luis Avilan retired only one batter, giving up a hit and a walk.

Plouffe tied the game at 3 with a slow roller off Cory Gearrin that got through the hole between first and second. Doumit followed with another hit to right, this one much sharper, to put the Twins ahead.

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