Heyward leads Braves to 7-1 win over Phillies

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm •  Published: September 26, 2013
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ATLANTA (AP) — 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.

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