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Minnesota at Atlanta

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Minnesota (18-24)01100002004100
Atlanta (27-18) «20010000115100

Gattis, Freeman help Braves defeat Twins in 10

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis just keeps coming through for the Atlanta Braves.

The rookie hit a two-out, pinch-hit homer in the ninth to send the game to extra innings and Freddie Freeman won it in the 10th, sending the Braves to their fifth straight win, 5-4 over the slumping Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

Freeman blooped a two-out single off Brian Duensing (0-1) to bring home Jason Heyward, handing the Twins their seventh straight loss.

But Gattis was the talk of the clubhouse after his third pinch-hit homer of the season -- and second in four days.

"I'm kind of getting used to it," he said with a shrug.

His teammates were left shaking their heads.

"It's awesome to see," said Braves starter Tim Hudson, who worked five solid innings despite a lengthy rain delay. "People around the league are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to make sure he doesn't put the ball in the seats."

Gattis, who surprisingly made the team as a non-roster player, has been a key contributor all season. He was NL rookie of the month in April, getting plenty of starts while the Braves battled a string of injuries. Now, with all the regulars healthy, he's showing what he can do off the bench. It was his ninth homer of the season, four of which have been tying or go-ahead shots in the eighth inning or later.

"I don't know how to explain it," Freeman said. "It's incomprehensible."

Duensing got the first two hitters in the 10th, but Heyward doubled off the wall in left-center. Justin Upton was intentionally walked before Freeman came through on a 3-2 pitch for his second RBI of the game.

"It wasn't the prettiest swing," Freeman said, "but it got the job done."

Gattis was looking for a pinch over the inside part of the plate.

He got just what he was looking for on an 0-1 slider from Twins closer Glen Perkins, sending a drive deep into the left-field seats.

"I was trying to hit the ball hard," Gattis said. "I don't try to hit home runs. It just happened."

Trevor Plouffe and Ryan Doumit had RBI singles in the eighth against the depleted Atlanta bullpen, giving the Twins a 4-3 lead. They were one out away from snapping their slide, but Perkins couldn't finish the job.

"I think he guessed right," Perkins said. "You've got to make good pitches. That guy, he's up there to do one thing, and he did it."

Craig Kimbrel (1-1) worked a scoreless 10th for the win.

Brian McCann homered and drove in two runs for the Braves, while Hudson pitched around a 1-hour, 26-minute rain delay -- but they were afterthoughts in light of the dramatic comeback.

The Braves bullpen, which lost two key relievers to season-ending surgeries in the past week, surrendered the lead in the eighth. Luis Avilan retired only one batter, giving up a hit and a walk.

Plouffe tied the game at 3 with a slow roller off Cory Gearrin that got through the hole between first and second. Doumit followed with another hit to right, this one much sharper, to put the Twins ahead.

"We made a nice comeback to get back in the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Our bullpen did just a super job of shutting everything down."

Until the end, that is.

"A tough one," Gardenhire conceded.

Hudson gave up five hits and two runs while striking out five. He bounced back from two rough starts, having allowed 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings in losses at San Francisco and Arizona.

Anthony Swarzak pitched four solid innings in relief of Minnesota starter Mike Pelphrey, who gave up two runs in the first and was lifted after a fierce storm suddenly popped up with the Twins batting in the third. The umpires wasted no time calling for the ground crew, which struggled to get the tarp over the infield amid blinding rain and whipping winds.

Then, as the storm began to break almost as quickly as it appeared, a power surge knocked out the lights and video board at Turner Field. The board came back on in a matter of seconds, but the lights took much longer to fire back up.

Hudson was ready to go.

"That was at least Double-A lighting," he quipped. "The kids in the bushes do it. Why can't we?"

With the field fully lit, Hudson quickly gave up an RBI single to Justin Morneau, tying the game at 2.

Leading off the fourth, McCann lined a pitch off Swarzak into the right-field seats that put the Braves back on top. Anthony Varvaro threw two scoreless innings for the Braves, but a bullpen that will have to do without Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty the rest of the season couldn't hold the lead.

Turns out, that just set things up for another turn at hero by Gattis.

"When I saw him going up there to hit," said Freeman, who also had an RBI double in the first, "I had a feeling we were going to be playing a little longer."

Notes

  • The Twins will start RHP Samuel Deduno against the Tigers on Friday. He will take the spot previously held by LHP Pedro Hernandez, who was demoted to the minors on Monday. "He can wing it," Gardenhire said of Deduno. "You're going to get a guy who's going to put fear in people's hearts." Deduno starred for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic before sustaining a groin injury pitching in the final. He spent six weeks recovering before joining Minnesota's Triple-A team at Rochester.
  • Braves RHP Jordan Walden (shoulder inflammation) played long toss before the game but isn't likely to be activated Monday, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. Manager Fredi Gonzalez believes Walden will need a couple of minor-league starts before he returns to Atlanta.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Freddie Freeman (left) and Evan Gattis (right) come through for the Braves, who record their fifth straight win. (USATSI)
Freddie Freeman (left) and Evan Gattis (right) come through for the Braves, who record their fifth straight win. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Mauer
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jamey Carroll, 2B5000012 .279
Joe Mauer, C4220100 .337
Josh Willingham, LF3010110 .203
    Brian Dozier, PR0100000 .205
    Wilkin Ramirez, LF1000002 .262
Justin Morneau, 1B4121002 .309
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4011004 .254
    Eduardo Escobar, 3B0000000 .293
Ryan Doumit, RF5021004 .226
Aaron Hicks, CF5000034 .138
Pedro Florimon, SS4021020 .253
Mike Pelfrey, P1000012 .000
    Anthony Swarzak, P1000010 .000
   a- Oswaldo Arcia, PH1000010 .255
    Casey Fien, P0000000 .000
    Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
   b- Chris Parmelee, PH1000011 .198
    Glen Perkins, P0000000 .000
    Brian Duensing, P0000000 .000
Totals394104211  
a-struck out (wild pitch) for Swarzak in the 7th
b-struck out for Burton in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Justin Morneau (30), Trevor Plouffe (17), Ryan Doumit (17), Pedro Florimon (16)
2-OUT RBI - Pedro Florimon (8)
SB - Pedro Florimon (6, 2nd base off Carpenter/McCann)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Plouffe-Carroll-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Pelfrey 2422110 6.69
Anthony Swarzak 4311031 3.90
Casey Fien 1000020 4.19
Jared Burton (H,9) 1000020 2.25
Glen Perkins (BS,1) 1111021 3.45
Brian Duensing (L,0-1) 0.2211100 3.50
IBB - Upton by Brian Duensing
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Pelfrey 38-21, Anthony Swarzak 64-41, Casey Fien 11-7, Jared Burton 9-8, Glen Perkins 13-9, Brian Duensing 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Pelfrey 2-2, Anthony Swarzak 6-3, Jared Burton 1-0, Brian Duensing 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Pelfrey 10, Anthony Swarzak 15, Casey Fien 3, Jared Burton 3, Glen Perkins 4, Brian Duensing 5
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andrelton Simmons, SS5000001 .236
Jason Heyward, RF5220000 .156
Justin Upton, LF4000111 .273
Freddie Freeman, 1B5122020 .293
Brian McCann, C4132000 .282
Dan Uggla, 2B4000022 .179
Juan Francisco, 3B2000111 .260
    Luis Avilan, P0000000 .000
    Cory Gearrin, P0000000 .000
    David Carpenter, P0000000 .000
   a- Evan Gattis, PH1111000 .254
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
B.J. Upton, CF4020020 .153
Tim Hudson, P2000013 .286
    Anthony Varvaro, P0000000 .000
   b- Ramiro Pena, PH-3B2000010 .276
Totals385105210  
a-homered for Carpenter in the 9th
b-struck out for Varvaro in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jason Heyward (4, Duensing), Freddie Freeman (8, Pelfrey)
HR - Brian McCann (4, Swarzak), Evan Gattis (9, Perkins)
RBI - Freddie Freeman 2 (26), Brian McCann 2 (12), Evan Gattis (23)
2-OUT RBI - Freddie Freeman 2 (12), Brian McCann (3), Evan Gattis (11)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Heyward 1
DP - Freeman-Simmons-Varvaro
PB - Brian McCann (1)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Hudson 5522050 4.98
Anthony Varvaro (H,1) 2100030 2.16
Luis Avilan (H,6) 0.1122100 3.06
Cory Gearrin (BS,1) 0.2200000 0.87
David Carpenter 1100120 3.86
Craig Kimbrel (W,1-1) 1000010 2.45
IBB - Mauer by David Carpenter
HBP - Morneau (by Tim Hudson), Plouffe (by Craig Kimbrel)
WP - Anthony Varvaro (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 81-56, Anthony Varvaro 27-19, Luis Avilan 15-7, Cory Gearrin 13-8, David Carpenter 21-12, Craig Kimbrel 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 4-6, Anthony Varvaro 3-0, David Carpenter 1-0, Craig Kimbrel 2-0
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 21, Anthony Varvaro 7, Luis Avilan 3, Cory Gearrin 3, David Carpenter 5, Craig Kimbrel 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28663
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Bill Welke