Braves aim to stay hot vs. Jays
(Sports Network) - Sporting the longest current winning streak in the major leagues, the Atlanta Braves try to make it six in a row this afternoon as they settle in for the second of a three-game interleague set versus the Toronto Blue Jays at Turner Field.
Atlanta, which is 13-11 at home thus far in 2012, went to extra innings in the series opener on Friday night but were saved by Jason Heyward, who manufactured the winning run to cap a 4-3 triumph in 10 innings.
Heyward began the bottom half of the frame by singling off Francisco Cordero, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and then came home on a wild throw that Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia sent into left field.
"I saw [the ball] over my right shoulder," Heyward commented. "Once I saw that, I knew it was over and we won. It was rewarding. You take a gamble right there and that is why you do it."
The Braves finished the night 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position yet still captured the thrilling victory. Michael Bourn recorded a pair of doubles and three hits in all for the hosts, while Martin Prado, Heyward and even pitcher Brandon Beachy contributed with a pair of hits apiece.
Beachy, who scored a run, made it through five full innings, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks, striking out six. The sixth Atlanta pitcher on the night, Cristhian Martinez was credited with his third win of the season as he delivered a scoreless 10th.
Cordero was saddled with the loss for Toronto, his fourth in five decisions this season. Like Beachy, Jays starter Kyle Drabek also worked just five innings, permitting three runs on six hits and four walks without the benefit of a single strikeout.
Edwin Encarnacion had two of the five hits recorded by Toronto, scoring a pair of runs in the process. Jose Bautista, batting just .229 at this stage, connected on his 16th home run of the campaign as the club fell three games off the pace in the American League East and is now two games under .500 (14-16) on the road while sitting in fourth place.
Heading to the mound for the first time ever against Atlanta is rookie hurler Drew Hutchison. The Florida native last pitched on Sunday when he registered his second straight win and the fourth in the last five outings with a 5-1 victory over Boston.
Against the Red Sox Hutchison lasted seven innings, allowing just the one run on five hits, while striking out five.
Hutchison has an even record of 2-2 on the road this season, but his ERA is an inflated 6.31 in those five appearances away from home.
As for the Braves, they have Tommy Hanson penciled in as their starter this time around. The Tulsa native is now in his fourth year with Atlanta and has an impressive mark of 11-2 in 15 career appearances in the month of June.
Getting his first-ever start against the Jays, the right-hander has won just one of his last three outings, that being a 3-2 triumph over Washington on the road last weekend. Versus the Nationals, Hanson lasted seven innings, allowing two runs on a pair of home runs, while striking out six for the second straight contest.
Atlanta, which is now 132-113 all-time in interleague play, has won seven straight meetings against the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are 125-144 in regular-season meetings against members of the National League.