Braves get freebie; Cards lose slugfest
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 9:03 pm
ATLANTA (AP) — Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t even see the balk that gave Atlanta its latest extra-innings win.
Everyone else did.
With a runner on third and two outs in the 10th inning, Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco stopped and then restarted his motion with Jason Heyward at the plate, bringing home the winning run to give the Atlanta Braves a 9-8 win Thursday night.
“The next thing I know Heyward’s hands are in the air without a bat,” Gonzalez said. “I said ‘What’s going on?”’
Heyward said he recognized the balk immediately.
“(Carrasco) went to set and then he tried to go back and get another sign ... without stepping off,” Heyward said.
Even Carrasco couldn’t argue the call by plate umpire James Hoye that scored Diory Hernandez from third.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington National also went 10 innings.
The two teams combined for seven home runs during the contest and the Cards fell 7-4 after Danny Espinoza’s walk-off home run.
However, St. Louis kept to within a game of the National League Central leading Milwaukee Bre-wers.
The Chicago Cubs bested them 12-7 on Thursday.
Braves 9, Mets 8
Hernandez doubled with two outs in the 10th and took third after first baseman Lucas Duda mishandled Jordan Schafer’s grounder. Hernandez scored the winning run on the balk as Gonzalez watched from the dugout.
It was all made possible by Brooks Conrad’s homer off Francisco Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth.
That came after the Mets took a two-run lead after coming back from a 6-2 deficit.
K-Rod hadn’t blown a save since his first appearance for the Mets, who were trying to sweep a three-game series and go above .500 for the first time since April 6. Instead, the Braves got their 13th final at-bat victory of the season.
“For us to at least scratch one out of the series, it was a hard-fought win for us,” Conrad said.
Chipper Jones had three hits, including a three-run homer, and matched his career high with five RBI before leaving the game in the ninth with a strained adductor muscle in his right leg.
Nationals 9, Cardinals 8
WASHINGTON (AP) — Late home runs by Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina rallied the St. Louis Cardinals only to see them fall short yet again.
Reliever Fernando Salas gave up a three-run homer to Espinosa in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Washington Nationals a 7-4 win Thursday night.
It was the sixth straight loss for the Cardinals, who were swept in consecutive series at Milwaukee and Washington.
St. Louis trailed 4-2 going into the eighth and forced extra innings against the Nationals’ top two relievers.
The Cardinals remain one game behind Milwaukee for the lead in the NL Central. The current losing streak is their longest since Sept. 10-17, 2008 — when they dropped seven straight.
Matt Holliday, back in the lineup after missing 13 games with a left quadriceps injury, led off the second inning with his seventh homer in his first at-bat.
Cubs 12, Brewers 7
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs’ offense was too much for the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
Kosuke Fukudome had three hits and broke the game open with a three-run homer, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena also went deep, and the Cubs beat the Brewers 12-7.
Chicago took three of the four games in the series.
“Just the way it occurred,” manager Mike Quade said. “We haven’t played great baseball, but there were a lot of plays today. ... There was some execution today that I really liked to see.”
Fukudome singled and scored in the first inning, hit an RBI triple and scored in the second, and delivered the big blow in the sixth when he connected off reliever Daniel Herrera to make it a four-run game.
The right fielder also threw out Rickie Weeks twice trying to stretch singles into doubles, so it wasn’t hard to see why Quade called it a career day for him.
Fukudome shrugged that off, but he didn’t downplay taking three of four from the NL Central leaders.
Considering the Cubs had dropped 11 of 13 before this series and began the day 13 games under .500, that was hard to envision.