Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Nate McLouth’s leadoff homer in the 10th inning gave the Braves a dramatic 4-3 comeback victory over the Phillies in the opener of a three-game set between these NL East foes.
The Braves had recorded just four hits and were down 3-0 heading into the ninth inning, but Chipper Jones worked a one-out walk against Ryan Madson and Troy Glaus followed two batters later with a two-out, two-run homer.
Star rookie Jason Heyward then stepped in and crushed an 0-1 changeup into the right-center field seats to send the game to extra innings.
“First, the walk to Chipper…I lost control there,” Madson admitted. “Then Glaus’ ball was right in the middle and that’s what happens. I just made a bad pitch there. Then I threw Hayward a change-up, not too bad with location, but it needed to be out of the strike zone.”
Heyward, who came into the game hitting .302, spoke with veteran savvy on his homer.
“Troy went in and had a great at-bat before, and all you have in mind when you go up to the plate, is what the pitcher has. It’s not about trying to do too much, just trying to get on and extend the game,” he said of his mindset at the plate.
Billy Wagner (1-0) retired the side in order in the top of the 10th, and McLouth worked a 2-2 count to start the bottom half off Jose Contreras (0-1), whose next offering was a hanging breaking ball that was redirected into the right field seats for the game-winner.
Tommy Hanson allowed two runs on six hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings for Atlanta, which has won five of its last six games.
The late rally spoiled a stellar start from Kyle Kendrick, who scattered four hits and two walks in eight scoreless innings for Philadelphia, losers of three straight.
Chase Utley provided most of the Phillies’ offense with two hits and two RBI.
Kendrick, who didn’t make it out of the second inning in his previous start, faced the minimum nine batters through three innings.
The Phillies broke a scoreless tie in the fourth, as Utley led off with a double and came around on Ryan Howard’s hard ground ball to the right side of the infield. The ball glanced off the glove of Glaus and was ruled a base hit.
Kendrick got Glaus to ground into a inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to get out of bases-loaded jam in the bottom half, and Utley greeted Eric O’Flaherty with a single to score Placido Polanco, whose double chased Hanson with two outs in the fifth.
In the seventh, Shane Victorino reached on an infield hit, moved to third on Polanco’s single and raced home on a fielder’s choice groundout by Utley.
Kendrick walked McLouth with one out in the eighth before a groundout moved him to second. A wild pitch put McLouth on third but Matt Diaz grounded to third to end the frame.
“That’s the furthest he’s gone. Getting late in the game, he was getting behind on the hitters,” said Phils manager Charlie Manuel of his decision to pull his starter.
This was the start of a nine-game road trip for the Phillies…Heyward also hit a game-winning, two-run single in the ninth inning to beat Colorado 4-3 on Sunday…Kendrick had pitched to a 17.47 earned run average in his first two starts this season…Hanson faced the Phillies twice during his rookie season a year ago, going 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA…Martin Prado had two hits for the Braves.