It took 12 innings and eight pitchers, but Jason Heyward made sure Atlanta emerged victorious Friday night in St. Louis. Heyward launched a two-run homer to left field off of Kyle McClellan to give the Braves a 9-7 win over the Cardinals.
Atlanta opened the scoring in the first inning, as the Braves loaded the bases against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia. Two passed balls allowed Michael Bourn and Martin Prado to come in and score, making it a 2-0 game.
St. Louis struck back in the bottom of the second when Matt Carpenter crushed a home run to dead center against Braves starter Mike Minor.
Three ground-rule doubles (one via fan interference) in third inning led to three Atlanta runs, making it a 5-1 game in favor of the Braves.
Back-to-back home runs from Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig in the bottom of the fourth inning cut the lead to 5-3. Minor's troubles with the home run ball did him in tonight. He's given up eight home runs in just over 42 innings pitched so far this season.
Minor didn't manage to make it out of the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles put runners on first and third for Matt Holliday, who doubled to left field, scoring Rafael Furcal. The hot-hitting Beltran followed with a triple, scoring Jon Jay and Holliday. That gave St. Louis a 6-5 lead.
Jaime Garcia didn't survive the sixth inning, but St. Louis escaped without allowing a run. In the seventh, Marc Rzepczynski gave up a solo homer to Dan Uggla which tied the game briefly at seven.
Mitchell Boggs and his grade-A facial hair came in to pitch the eighth, and had the bases loaded against him thanks to a Jason Heyward single and two walks. Freddie Freeman followed with a grounder that Tyler Greene dived for, although I'm not really sure he needed too. Freeman beat the throw, which allowed Heyward to score and make it 7-6.
Jonny Venters came in to pitch the eighth, and gave up a homer to the ridiculous Carlos Beltran. It wasn't a bad pitch, but Beltran just wasn't missing anything. That tied things up at eight.
A scoreless ninth for both teams sent the game to extras, and Atlanta elected to use Livan Hernandez. Hernandez faced a bases-loaded, one out situation in the tenth, but somehow got David Freeze to ground into an inning ending double play.
St. Louis again loaded the bases in the eleventh, but Hernandez got Allen Craig to pop out to shallow center to escape the jam. I don't know how he did it, but more power to him.
Heyward's homer gave Atlanta the lead, and Craig Kimbrel slammed the door to record his 11th save of the season.