(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves jumped on the Philadelphia Phillies
early in Thursday night's opener of a four-game series. Sustaining that
production will be key for the playoff-bound Braves, but they face a stiff
challenge in Friday night's contest in a matchup with Cliff Lee.
The Braves had been shut out in three of their previous eight games, including
twice in the last three, but pounded out 12 hits in last night's 7-1 win. They
plated five runs in the opening frame, with Jason Heyward's homer to begin the
frame getting things started.
Heyward went 5-for-5 and also scored twice, while Evan Gattis had three RBI as
the Braves moved into a tie with the idle St. Louis Cardinals for the best
record in the National League.
The Cardinals begin a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Braves pitcher David Hale picked up his first Major League win as he threw six
innings and gave up one run on seven hits in his second start.
"I was a little more relaxed, but still nervous. I just kept the ball down and
it turned out all right," Hale said. "Within, what, have I been here 25 days
or something, I get to see a pennant celebration, two calls and a big league
victory. It's pretty incredible."
The victory did see Brian McCann exit in the second inning due to a tight
groin muscle. The injury isn't believed to be serious and McCann, hitting .256
with 20 homers this season, may at worst miss the rest of the regular season
before being ready for the playoffs.
Atlanta could use a veteran bat like McCann against Lee, who is 3-1 with a
2.63 earned run average in four starts against the Braves this season. He has
struck out 30 over 27 1/3 innings.
The left-handed Lee has a 2.12 ERA in his last seven starts, holding opponents
to two earned runs or less each time out. He had won four straight decisions
prior to a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday, yielding three runs -- two
earned -- on eight hits over seven innings. Lee struck out eight without a
Lee, 35, is 14-7 with a 2.93 ERA in 30 starts this season and will try to help
the Phillies avoid an eighth loss in nine games.
Jimmy Rollins had three hits and starter Tyler Cloyd drove in the club's only
run, but gave up seven runs while recording just three outs.
"I just wasn't executing," Cloyd said. "It was just bad. I wasn't executing
any pitches, and they hit the ball hard. I wasn't doing my job."
Getting the call for the Braves will be Kris Medlen, who has a 1.59 ERA over
his last eight appearances. He is unbeaten in five straight, winning four
starts in a row before a no-decision versus the Cubs on Saturday.
The 27-year-old righty allowed just one run on six hits and two walks over 7
1/3 innings, leaving him 14-12 with a 3.24 ERA this season.
Medlen is 2-2 with a 5.01 ERA in four starts versus the Phillies this season.
The Phillies did record a three-game sweep of the Braves at home in the last
meeting from Sept. 6-8, but have lost five of seven in Atlanta this season.
The Sports Network