The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Heyward, Simmons homer during 6-run 1st, Braves win 4th straight 7-3 over Pirates

  • Print

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Ervin Santana said "everything" was off when he took the mound Monday.

No matter. His Atlanta Braves teammates gave him a six-run lead before he threw a pitch.

Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons homered to begin a big first inning, and the Braves beat the sliding Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on Monday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

The early outburst was enough for Santana, who allowed three solo homers among nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

"I know I didn't have my stuff today, but for me it was one of my best games because I gave up three runs," said Santana (13-6), who improved to 8-1 over his past 10 starts. "Anytime you give up three runs or less, it's a good outing. So I'll take it".

Pittsburgh has lost six in a row. Starling Marte went deep twice, and Neil Walker added a homer that became the first to reach the Allegheny River beyond right field at PNC Park this season.

Relievers Luis Avilan, David Hale and James Russell combined for 3 2-3 hitless innings for Atlanta, which broke a tie with Pittsburgh for third place in the National League wild-card standings.

"We went through these tough stretches in April and early May and we've played really good baseball up until this last week," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "We're still the same team."

Heyward and Simmons started the game with the Braves' fifth set of back-to-back home runs this season, and it got worse from there for Vance Worley (5-3). Chris Johnson and Gerald Laird had run-scoring singles as Atlanta bolted to a 6-0 lead.

"I know we didn't score a whole lot the rest of the way," said Heyward, who had had three hits and a sacrifice fly. "But still, that's a lot of pressure for a team to come back against."

Worley managed to pitch six innings and was charged with five earned runs. He allowed nine hits, struck out four and walked two.

"After (the first inning), I figured it out," Worley said. "It clicked, I was able to drive the ball down in the zone and get the results that I needed."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: During a rehabilitation outing for Triple-A Gwinnett, RHP Shae Simmons (right shoulder strain) did not record an out and was charged with four runs. He walked two and allowed two hits while throwing 21 pitches.

Pirates: After taking live batting practice prior to the game, OF Andrew McCutchen (left rib fracture) said he expects to come off the DL on Tuesday. ... SS Jordy Mercer (right forearm tightness) was not in the lineup for the fourth consecutive game.

A FIRST AT FIRST

The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez started at first base in his first career appearance at any spot other than third. Alvarez, whose 25 errors lead the majors, had seven put-outs. His first chance was an errant throw by second baseman Neil Walker that led to two runs being scored.

LATE ARRIVAL

Because the Braves did not get into Pittsburgh until 3 a.m. Monday morning, manager Fredi Gonzalez elected to rest regulars B.J. Upton and Evan Gattis.

BACK-TO-BACK BEGINNING

Heyward's homer was his third of the season to lead off a game and sixth of his career. According to STATS, Monday was the fifth time the Braves began a game with consecutive home runs.

UP NEXT

Braves: Tuesday starter RHP Aaron Harang (9-7, 3.51 ERA) has 15 career wins against the Pirates.

Pirates: Despite having a 2.36 ERA over 42 innings in seven starts since coming off the DL, LHP Francisco Liriano (3-9, 3.78 ERA) has lost three of five decisions. He's lost his past two outings.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Home buying

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A young gosling prepares to eat dandelions on King Edward St Thursday morning-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 17- bonus - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Ray Rice should be given a lifetime ban from the NFL?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google