Heyward slam sends Braves, Hanson to win

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Apparently they just needed to turn on the lights for Jason Heyward.

The right fielder hit a first-inning grand slam Friday to send the Braves and Tommy Hanson to a 9-5 win against the Houston Astros at Champion Stadium, the second homer for Heyward in two night games this week.

Michael Bourn also homered for the Braves against his former team, and Hanson allowed five hits and two runs in three innings in his first official start of the spring.

“I made my pitches at points, other times I didn’t,” said Hanson, who had three strikeouts with no walks and gave up a homer to Travis Buck. “I’m not worried about it, I’m not happy about it, it was just another day working. I feel like I’m on my way to getting better.”

The lanky right-hander debuted his retooled,  smoother delivery Sunday against Toronto, a game that got rained out in the second inning. After missing more than a week for a concussion, he allowed three hits and two earned runs pitching in steady showers.

“This start I was a lot more comfortable, probably because it was nice weather,” he said. “I definitely felt more comfortable this time, but I still feel like it was my first start. The other one wasn’t much of a start.”

Heyward’s second homer in three games was a first-pitch grand slam off lefty Wandy Rodriguez. He homered Wednesday off Washington phenom Stephen Strasburg in Atlanta’s first night game of the spring, also a win.

“For me that’s the result of better path through the ball and getting better backspin on the ball,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s a big, strong kid. When he’s right, it doesn’t matter” if he’s facing a lefty or right-hander.

The Braves have a 1-11-1 record in day games and 2-0 in night games.

Heyward has two homers, a double off the  wall and five RBIs in two night games. In 11 days games, he’s 4-for-31 (.129) with a double and three RBIs.

Rodriguez retired the first two batters before three consecutive singles by Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. After a walk by Jordan Parraz, Heyward drove the next pitch over the right-field wall.

“Guy loads the bases up and he’s aggressive;  we like to see that,” Gonzalez said. “That’s something that [hitting coach] Greg [Walker] has been preaching, ‘Be aggressive. Be ready to hit the first pitch.’ Confucius says if you let the fastball down the middle go, you’ll soon be chasing breaking balls in the dirt. So be aggressive”

The Astros chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 5-3 before Bourn’s two-run homer in the fourth. The Astros traded Bourn to the Braves before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

The speedy center fielder served as DH on Friday to get some rest and so the Braves could see bench candidate Jordan Parraz play center. He misplayed a fly ball at the warning track into a two-base error in the seventh inning that led to an unearned run.

65 comments Add your comment

B-F_52

March 16th, 2012
9:45 pm

Laughing out Loud

March 16th, 2012
9:48 pm

What no posters on ths blog! I refuse to be claiming “first!”

bravesgrl4life

March 16th, 2012
9:50 pm

How many day games do we have this season?

Laughing out Loud

March 16th, 2012
9:52 pm

It was a good win! Spring training is just that…spring training. It’s a time of getting ready, getting prepared, working on stuff. I’m patient and I expect the Braves to have a great season contending for the championship! Why worry? Be happy! It’s BASEBALL! Not life and death

Laughing out Loud

March 16th, 2012
9:52 pm

It was a good win! Spring training is just that…spring training. It’s a time of getting ready, getting prepared, working on stuff. I’m patient and I expect the Braves to have a great season contending for the championship! Why worry? Be happy! It’s BASEBALL! Not life and death

Tommy Boggs

March 16th, 2012
9:55 pm

# 4 (not Jeff Blasuer) looked good. Can he play 3rd? We need a back up instead of putting Martin on the rotation program.

Coach

March 16th, 2012
10:19 pm

Heyward’s swing looks like that its back to 2010 form. The ball makes contact with the bat unlike anything that I have seen or heard before. Its almost like the ball says “Damn! That hurt” and is screaming to get away from Heyward. If I was the GM and Fredi, I would make Simmons my everyday shortstop. The kid is light years ahead of Pastronicky, and is really making the front office and Fredi think twice about who their shortstop is going to be, nice problem to have. I like to see these kids and unknowns show what they can do, our bench should be solid. Hanson looked good, and I am happy that he tweaked his delivery. You can honestly say that if he keeps it going, it will add years to his career. Our lineup should be rock solid, and Walkers project looks like freakin godzilla stomping buildings and breathing fire! (Heyward). The NL East should be exciting to watch this year!

#3

March 16th, 2012
10:25 pm

Too bad the Astros are AL bound…

phil

March 16th, 2012
10:31 pm

Confucious?

Help us…

Fire FG!!

pat

March 16th, 2012
10:34 pm

Still, it’s the small ball we’re missing. Sure, if everybody is bombs away, we’re going to win. That’s true for any team, but chipping away at leads, moving runners, keeping the defense off base a little, that I did not see. That’s what I so desperatly want to see.

If we can play the small ball and play it consistently, scratch out some games we should lose, grind out at bats, then I am all in. I just don’t see it. If we need 3 guys to hit bombs to win games, that’s not going to get it done.
I don’t care about records in spring, I care about play calling and effort.

Busch Leaguer

March 16th, 2012
10:34 pm

Damn MLB network blacking out Braves replay. they win a freaking game and I can’t even watch it.

bruce

March 16th, 2012
11:18 pm

been going through my Confucious books, have not found that quote yet, but I will keep looking!

Choppinmama

March 16th, 2012
11:25 pm

That grand salami of Jason’s went into orbit. They still have the tents up on the executive parking lot on the far side of the outfield wall and some type of carpet-like padding on the cars parked up against the wall. Somebody’s ride got dinged today for sure.

They’re 2 for 3 since I’ve been here. Just sayin……

Choppinmama

March 16th, 2012
11:32 pm

Bad call by the first base ump on a throw from 2nd to 1st that pulled him off the bag and Chipper was called out. It was not even close. Fredi came out to argue but I guess it’s spring training for the blues too.

Choppinmama

March 16th, 2012
11:39 pm

Every guy around me had their phones out all game checking out basketball scores!

LAG

March 16th, 2012
11:49 pm

In case anyone’s wondering where to watch the replay, it’s on Fox Sports South. Started @ 11.

Runnin

March 17th, 2012
4:08 am

This wasn’t really a night game and Heyward’s HR came in the 1st inning, when it was still very much daylight.

Fredi Will Screw It Up Somehow

March 17th, 2012
4:09 am

Confucius. Yeah.

Fredi Will Screw It Up Somehow

March 17th, 2012
4:10 am

Longtimefan

March 17th, 2012
8:23 am

Where are all the Heyward Haters? I know you guys are lurking in the shadows of the Internet, just waiting for Heyward to misplay a fly ball or strike out with the bases loaded to post your drivel such as trade him for a bag of balls or send him to AAA or other such nonsense. Heyward remains a legitimate 22 year old 5 tool player, with superstar potential. MVP ceiling. I know, I know- I’ve heard everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just like the members of the Flat Earth Society, you can have your ” personal opinion”, but when it flys in the face of known facts then you are wrong. Take for instance the couple of posters who continue to say Heyward sucks defensively. One of them cited his own observations of watching games as evidence of such! Wow, that’s impressive. The experts-3rd edition of The Fielding Bible and noted baseball writer/expert Bill James ranks Jason Heyward as tied with Tori Hunter as best fielding RF in 2011 with metric of 15 runs saved. They further project him to be among the best defensive outfielders in MLB for 2012 . He clearly has power, a good eye at the plate and if his stroke returns to 2010 form he could be in for a huge year.
I am truly amazed at the caustic comments continually made by so- called Braves fans towards the players. Especially Chipper, although I won’t beat that horse again today. I have been an avid Braves fan since they arrived in Atl in 1966 and like many fans endured some dismal seasons. I was also given the gift of an incredible record- setting run of 14 consecutive division championships and was witness to one of the best starting rotations in the history of baseball. It many of the bloggers comments about that was ” Yeah, but they only won one WS, they should have fired that nose- picking Bobby Cox a long time ago”. Hey Sonny Clusters, you pessimistic naysayer, I’ll but you heard the phrase” You can’t please some people with a pleasing stick!” .

Snake Doc

March 17th, 2012
9:20 am

Its funny… Da Braves beat a team in that is in worse shape then they are; and all proclaim the team to be well and ready for a post season run.

This team is only marginally better than the Astros and we all know Heyward can hit balls in BP, can he do it in a game over a 162 game season is what needs to be answered.

This is too funny!

proverbsI-23

March 17th, 2012
9:31 am

Thanks Alexis Stevens for AJC report on Jeff Porter thanking everyone for there support when his wife was killed in horrific crash…good to hear his family is doing well. As a Braves trainer since 1985 he is a great part of Braves fans family..God Bless.

dogsbrekky - tuxonmadisonave

March 17th, 2012
9:45 am

JHey on a tear, you little bloody bewdy Newk!

henry tn

March 17th, 2012
9:57 am

heyward looked good at bat except for the last at bat he looked bad on the braking balls he looked better on the inside pitch….

Paul

March 17th, 2012
10:09 am

Snake, your post is both fallacious and foolish. I trust you’ll do better (or at least try harder) next time.

cowdogit

March 17th, 2012
10:23 am

If Liberty had any baseball knowledge they would never allow LEO MAZZONE to sit at home while the pitching staff breaks down every year.

Puma

March 17th, 2012
10:51 am

Braves Not Worried!
Ask any Brave if they’re worried about their lack of ST wins and they’ll say something like,
“We’re starting to come around. I’m not worried.”
Ask Braves management if they’re worried about the team’s lack of consistent hitting, pitching, etc. and they’ll say something like,
“We’re starting to come around. Shucks. Fredi says things are really improving since Jason is putting backspin on his hits. No, we’re not worried. It’s only spring training. Shucks! We feel real good about the regular season.”
Nope. The Braves are not worried. Just the fans.

TB

March 17th, 2012
11:01 am

Enter your comments here

TB

March 17th, 2012
11:14 am

To all the people hating on heyward and wanting to trade him don’t know baseball. A lot of people forget that heyward hit 7 homeruns in the first 3 weeks of April last year and then he got hurt and that injury affected his swing all year and his timing was never right. Now he is healthy and I see him hitting 35 homeruns with a close to .300 BA this year. With that said I don’t see the braves Making a lot of noise this year for 2 reasons. 1. Age, the braves are too old and young in the wrong places to win a WS. 2. The lack of an ace, braves have great pitching but none are true aces and that will hurt the team this year and don’t mention huddy because dude just had back surgery and I just hope he gets to his former self and even with him healthy he still is not that dominant ace this team needs. I ses the braves winning the 2nd wildcard then winning the one game between the next WC then losing in the next round. The braves time is coming just not this year.

Donovan

March 17th, 2012
11:20 am

5 hits and 2 runs in 3 innings is not my idea of an ace pitcher.

This guy is 1 car crash away from dragging the entire team down this coming season.

No one on the Braves seem worried about anything. I guess it’s more important that these multi-millionaires just go out and have FUN.

reckingball

March 17th, 2012
12:13 pm

I’m not worried.
Go Braves!

1eyedJack

March 17th, 2012
12:13 pm

Fredi G. looks a whole lot smarter when he gets two big taters.

Samantha

March 17th, 2012
12:15 pm

Puma, I am definitely not worried.

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
12:25 pm

Longtimefan
March 17th, 2012
8:23 am

Just like the members of the Flat Earth Society

An Obama man for sure

bustersonly

March 17th, 2012
12:30 pm

I’m not worried about Hanson or JJ, what i’m worried about is Fredi running them out there day after day if they are struggling like he did Lowe.

Here comes the Judge

March 17th, 2012
12:37 pm

Amazing what a couple wins can do to this blog!

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
12:41 pm

Samantha – I’m cookingcon Corned Beef and Cabbage, come on down.

Samantha

March 17th, 2012
12:54 pm

What are you talking about Ralph?

LAG

March 17th, 2012
1:14 pm

Great 1st inning for Beachy. 2 Ks (both looking), and one batter walked — who then got picked off to end the inning.

LAG

March 17th, 2012
1:23 pm

Bourn singles, advances to 2nd on a 4-3 by Pastornicky, takes 3rd on a failed pickoff attempt (E1), scores on a McCann sac fly.

Uggla flies to RF to end the 1st inning. 1-0 Braves.

LAG

March 17th, 2012
1:33 pm

Beachy pitches out of trouble in the 2nd, adds two more Ks (one looking on a filthy front-door hook).

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
1:39 pm

Samantha
March 17th, 2012
12:54 pm

You are Irish aren’t you?

LAG

March 17th, 2012
1:40 pm

Chipper Ks swinging, Hinske grounds out 3-1, Parraz grounds out 6-3.

After 2, 1-0 Braves.

And with that, I’m outta here to enjoy this Saturday.

ray k

March 17th, 2012
1:50 pm

Why do people always subscribe to and perpetuate this myth that the Braves have “great” pitching. It’s not 1995. I’m not sure it’s even 2005.
We have great bullpen pitching. We have above average starting pitching. And we are one catastrophe away from not even being that.
JJ is, at times, very good. He can also be very bad. He is not a dominant shut down guy and he is rarely healthy.
Hanson throws way too many pitches. At times he has electric stuff–other times he seemingly just throws a straight 92 mph fast ball over the heart of the plate.
Hudson is as close to elite as we’ve got, when healthy. But he’s older and coming off back surgery.
After that, we have a bunch of question marks. I do have high hopes for Minor this year.

No one on the staff has the stuff of a Smoltz–a consistent slider that buckles your knees followed by a 95 MPH fastball.
Hudson has the smarts and competitiveness of Maddux, but he gets tired as the season wears down.

Of course I realize I am referencing hall of famers. My point is, there are 2012 staffs that can be called great–Phillies, Giants, A’s. We are a solid pitching staff with depth that has the potential to be mediocre or quite good.

But I would reserve great for other staffs that include a guy like Lincecum or Verlander.

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
2:04 pm

Medelin allows 1 hit in four innings, no runs, tie game through 4, kid must be in the rotation.

Samantha

March 17th, 2012
2:05 pm

No Ralph, Just because I have red hair does not make me Irish. I do not rember telling you any thing about me.

reckingball

March 17th, 2012
2:13 pm

Thankyou Mr. Costas!
Come on everybody, let’s give a big hand to Mr. Bob Costas!
Thanks Bob, please comeback anytime.

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
2:16 pm

Samantha
March 17th, 2012
2:05 pm

I am in Panama, remember our conversation.

bustersonly

March 17th, 2012
2:20 pm

If Parraz keeps hitting the way he has he will earn a spot in Gwinnette

Samantha

March 17th, 2012
2:22 pm

Yes I remember our conversation, but do not remember telling you anything about me. But if you want to know anything just ask, but I do have red hair but i am not IRISH.

bustersonly

March 17th, 2012
3:15 pm

Braves lead Mets 3-2 Mets batting bottom 8th.

jim

March 17th, 2012
3:31 pm

Corned beef and cabbage is an American Irish creation. The Irish Irish don’t eat it.

Raquel

March 17th, 2012
3:33 pm

Hello everyone. How about the braves. I love it,

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
3:36 pm

Braves 3, Mets 2, Final

Raquel

March 17th, 2012
3:38 pm

Hi Ralph, Samantha left for a little while. I am her coworker

Larry

March 17th, 2012
3:59 pm

“Heyward has two homers, a double off the wall and five RBIs in two night games. In 11 days games, he’s 4-for-31 (.129) with a double and three RBIs.”

And this, ladies and gentlemen, perfectly exemplifies the ideal prototype of a Bobby Cox–and his offspring, Fruiti Gonzalez–hitter…hot or cold, free swinging hacks that occasionally make connection and knock the ball over the fence.

And this is also why their brand of baseball is so boring and 100% responsible for the growing empty seats at Turner field, apathy and utter indifference among their shrinking fan base.

Atlanta Braves baseball…better than a sleeping pill or a cocktail for a nice long siesta!

Raquel

March 17th, 2012
4:04 pm

Larry, I am new in your country so you must fill me in on baseball I just came here to work. All i know is what Samantha has told me.

Raquel

March 17th, 2012
4:21 pm

Well either people are afraid of me or just dont like me. So I guess I will see everybody.

Samantha

March 17th, 2012
4:54 pm

Im back guys, dont pay any attention to her. Shes in a new world everyday.

NRBQ

March 17th, 2012
9:24 pm

Ralph:

Hope you don’t have nightmares about black men tonight.

Nah, actually I do.

Ralph

March 17th, 2012
9:32 pm

NRBQ

Why should I, I could be a black man for all you know.

cowdogit

March 18th, 2012
10:09 am

The last major decision Fredi G made was when he benched his star shortstop and Florida fired him. When Lowe an Heyward were playing so bad an he refused to bench them it had a very negative effect on the other players. The players expect the manager to stepup and make these tough decision’s. It may be Fredi is suffering from a mile form of PTSD, and can no longer make any type of tough decision.

Samantha

March 18th, 2012
10:42 am

Well cowdogit I see your still complaining. Be patient, if you know what the word means. Most men dont.

Angie

March 31st, 2012
2:30 pm

I read this site and got so worked up that I buffalo kicked my dog!

Stacy

March 31st, 2012
4:12 pm

You wrote a good point but I wonder, what do you think about other side of the coin?

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