Freeman, McCann lead Braves past Cardinals 10-7

When the Braves jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning Wednesday on the strength of home runs from Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman, they had to feel good about their chances with Tim Hudson pitching.

After all, Hudson had a 126-3 career record (and 24 no-decisions) when given a lead of three runs.

Make that 25 no-decisions now for Hudson, but a win for the Braves, who got a combined five hits and seven RBIs from McCann and Freeman and scored five runs in their last three innings for a 10-7 win at  Turner Field to end a difficult homestand on a positive note.

After the Cardinals rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the score in the sixth inning, the Braves scored three in the sixth and two more in the eighth for their second win in a row after an eight-game losing streak.

“It puts us back on track,” said McCann, who had a two-run homer in the first inning and two-run single in the sixth. “We had a little skid there. The good sign for us is putting up runs. That’s something that we weren’t really doing during that little stretch. So to be able to come out and score some runs was big for us.”

They were swept in four games at Cincinnati and in three home games by Washington before collecting their second series win against the Cardinals in under three weeks. The Braves are off Thursday before an important six-game trip to Washington and Miami that starts Friday against the Nationals.

Freeman went 3-for-5 with three RBIs in his first game wearing prescription sports glasses, after missing four games waiting for the glasses to arrive and for his eyes to heal from irritation caused by a dry-eye condition and his contact lenses.

“It’s good that we came out here and battled the World Champions like we did,” said Freeman, who followed McCann’s homer with a solo shot of his own two batters later, homering in his first professional at-bat in glasses. “To take five out of six from those guys on the season is pretty good.”

The Braves broke a 5-5 tie in the sixth on Jack Wilson’s RBI double, then McCann beat the defensive shift by hitting a ball through the hole in the left side of the infield for two more runs in the inning.

The Braves’ lead was again reduced to one run after the Cardinals scored two in the eighth off reliever Eric O’Flaherty, but the Braves loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth on three walks before Dan Uggla’s sacrifice fly and Freeman’s single moved the lead back to three runs for closer Craig Kimbrel, who pitched a hitless ninth for his 15th save in 16 opportunities.

For the Braves, it was first time they scored more than one run in the first inning since May 11-12, when they twice got two runs in the first inning in back-to-back games against the Cardinals during a three-game sweep at St. Louis.

Hudson was charged with six hits and five runs in 5-2/3 innings, and 23 of his 73 pitches came in the sixth inning.

McCann and Freeman were also the first two Braves to homer in the same inning since May 5, when Matt Diaz and Jason Heyward hit back-to-back tape-measure homers off Jamie Moyer in the sixth inning at Colorado. Freeman went 3-f0r-5 with three RBIs, and McCann drove in four runs.

Freeman had been slowed for 2-1/2 weeks and eventually sidelined by his eye problems, including corneal abrasions that ultimately forced him to give up playing  in contact lenses.

He was 9-for-60 with one homer in his past 16 games and hadn’t played in four games while waiting for the new glasses to be constructed and shipped to Atlanta. They arrived Wednesday morning.

He was thrilled with the results when he tried out the new specs in batting practice, and that carried over to the game when Freeman homered to straightaway center on a full-count pitch from Kyle Lohse for a 3-0 lead.

“He swung the bat just like before all the eye issues,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “That’s nice to see, and just right on time because today was an offensive day…. It was a shame we couldn’t get Huddy a win, but I like the way the guys battled and really looked like the offensive team that we were the first month and a half, or almost two months of the season.”

Freeman also had an RBI double on a two-out high pop fly in the third inning, when the ball was blown back by the wind and landed between left fielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Rafael Furcal.

“I was surprised by how I hadn’t played in a few days and was able to have a swing like that,” Freeman said. “I wasn’t really worried about the glasses; I knew they worked well. I did a lot of work before the game just to make sure I was able to stay through the ball and go to left-center. I was happy with the results.”

Uggla hustled to score from second on the Freeman’s bloop hit, and one walk later Jose Constanza singled to right field for a 5-0 Braves lead. Constanza had singles in each of his first three at-bats, giving him four hits in two games since arriving from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday.

Hudson was perfect through three innings and had a 5-1 lead and only 50 pitches thrown through five innings. But he ran into a wall in the sixth, when he gave up three groundball singles and a run in a span of first four batters. After a two-out walk by Matt Adams loaded the bases, Tyler Greene hit the next pitch to left field to drive in two runs and cut the lead to 5-4.

That was all for Hudson, who got a standing ovation as he left the field. In came struggling reliever Jonny Venters, pitching before the eighth inning for just the fourth time all season but the second time in as many nights.

The first batter he faced, Daniel Descalso, hit a groundball single up the middle to drive in the tying run.

“I’m just glad we were able to come back and win,” said Hudson, who was charged with six hits, five runs and one walk in 5-2/3 innings. “It was a game that I thought we should have blown them out.

“It feels like the last couple of games every baserunner that I’ve had has scored somehow. Seems kind of hard to do, every single baserunner scores. But that’s kind of been the case the last couple of outings. Just got to do a better job making some better pitches when I get in a jam.”

The four-run inning had erased the Braves’ substantial lead, but they answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. The speedy Constanza led off by beating out an infield single, then went to second on a passed ball and scored the go-ahead run on Wilson’s opposite-field double.

With a runner at second and two outs, Martin Prado was walked intentionally to bring up McCann, who slapped a grounder through the left side to push the lead to 8-5.

McCann said having Freeman back batting fifth changed things.

“That was huge,” he said. “Getting him back in the lineup is a big deal, because you’re throwing another presence in the order that the pitcher has to make quality pitches to, and they can’t leave pitches out over the middle of the plate. That’s just going to help everybody around him.”

61 comments Add your comment

Parker

May 30th, 2012
10:01 pm

First. Go braves!!!!

Carl Farvman

May 30th, 2012
10:13 pm

FG and Wren must go!

Ron

May 30th, 2012
10:14 pm

Saying first and breaking line was supposed to have been corrected in kindergarten.
Go braves!

least of the east

May 30th, 2012
10:17 pm

they needed the win badly. we’ll gladly take one anyway we can get one.
starting pitching remains an issue as does Heyward.

another disappointing start for Hudson. can’t get 6 innings out of anyone.

what does Mc Dowell do anyway ? he can’t help ? I thought he was a good experienced pitching coach.

Braves will hang around just close enough to keep Bourn past the trade deadline and then lose him as free agent.

Bill

May 30th, 2012
10:23 pm

Great win for Braves..Glad to see Constanza hitting and running..welcome back FF with the cool glasses. maybe McCann will warm up..its time.

Elmer

May 30th, 2012
10:27 pm

Constanza, Constanza where have you been.

Bob the Blogger

May 30th, 2012
10:35 pm

It’s amazing how Freeman can turn on an inside fastball, as tall as he is. With him and McCann back, the Braves can start clawing their way back to the top of the division. We’ve got to get the starters back on tract, though.

Snarky in McDonough

May 30th, 2012
10:35 pm

Fire Carl Farvman!!!

Runner-

May 30th, 2012
10:35 pm

Elmer, 100% spot on, Constanza is what we’ve been missing, another speedster with a high OBP other than Bourn (who’s been struggling slightly) is what we needed. When Medlen comes up we need to option down Diaz instead. Also, Pastornicky has been optioned down, interesting move and it might pave way for a Simmons entrance or another arm in the pen.

WTF

May 30th, 2012
10:52 pm

The upcoming WASH series will tell a lot about the rest of the season……….

BravesWin

May 30th, 2012
11:10 pm

Bourn, Prado, and now (thankfully again) Constanza give us a triple-threat speed monster. Couple of big bats behind that, and it spells RBI’s aplenty!

BravesWin

May 30th, 2012
11:13 pm

…not to mention making opposing pitchers nervous as hell!

TW Braves Fan

May 30th, 2012
11:15 pm

Love Constanza’s work!!!
Go Braves!!!

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

May 30th, 2012
11:20 pm

wilson should be going to gwinnett not pastornicky. bring back gonzo. horrible defense at short tonight. incredible.

BraveZ

May 30th, 2012
11:23 pm

Constanza is reminding me of what he did when he first came up last year, Spark plug, and we win with him in the lineup

LensCrafter Mike

May 30th, 2012
11:25 pm

So, Freddie had been sitting on the bench for the last several games while waiting for his prescription Oakley glasses to arrive???

LensCrafter Mike

May 30th, 2012
11:29 pm

LensCrafters could’ve made his sports goggles in about an hour.

Scott

May 30th, 2012
11:43 pm

LensCrafter Mike: They tried that approach but the glasses didn’t provide the peripheral vision that Freddie needed both in the field and at bat.

Mike in Jacksonvill

May 30th, 2012
11:47 pm

Don’t get too worked up about Constanza. Just when he gets on a roll Frewddi will lose him on the bench. Just like last year.

Gene

May 31st, 2012
12:09 am

If you want to see Pastornicky turn into a ML shortstop, just trade him to the Rangers.

Baseball 101

May 31st, 2012
12:48 am

“Uggla hustled to score from second on the Freeman’s bloop hit, and one walk later Jose Constanza singled to right field for a 5-0 Braves lead.”

Uggla actually scored from first – he was running on contact with two outs and hustled all the way around. Because he hustled, and Furcal double – clutched the relay, he scored.

boykin

May 31st, 2012
1:02 am

good game boys. 5-1 vs WS Champions!

bravesnfalcons

May 31st, 2012
1:48 am

if chip can stay healthy, constanza in right instead of heyward, and we need to get another solid starter, we can seriously contend

Swede

May 31st, 2012
2:41 am

Runner – “Constanza is what we’ve been missing, another speedster with a high OBP” – since Aug 16 last year Constanza is 13 for 61 with no extra base hits, 2 BB and 2 SB.

That means he has an OBP of .250 in that timespan…

Don’t want to be a Negative Nellie, but maybe we need to have more than 1 (one) good game from him before we name him the seond coming of Mickey Mantle… ?

AW

May 31st, 2012
4:37 am

when do we play a ballplayer in right field? I suggest playing Matt D. Heyward is not, and will never be worth two dead flies.

Gray Mule

May 31st, 2012
5:38 am

Remember the highway safety slogan, “Speed Kills!”

Well, it works in sports also, Speed on the basepaths and speed from our
closer’s 98 MPH fast ball tipped the scales in our favor.

Great to have our 1st baseman back and great to see our catcher hit one thru
the gap to the opposite field. Wasn’t that great!

pro baseball

May 31st, 2012
5:49 am

ENTIRELY TOO LONG for Freeman’s eye problem to be resolved. The Braves are a Major league team and this vision problem should have never taken more than a day to correct. The Braves are finally addressing needs and get rid of Wilson and get some real pitching and they might make the playoffs.

tim

May 31st, 2012
6:23 am

Big win helps when you get a few people back. Now lets take the series against Nat’s this weekend. As for the haters that want Wren and Gonzalez canned please find another team to pull for.

Laughing out Loud

May 31st, 2012
6:43 am

RIGHT ON…Fire Carl Farvman! Frank Wren and Fredi G are doing a great job… Players aren’t doing so badly either! It’s baseball! Go Braves!

Paddy

May 31st, 2012
6:57 am

pro baseball…….do you not think the Braves did all thay could do to get Freddie back on the field? To say that they were less than dilligent in getting his eye problems resolved is proof that you no nothing about pro baseball. “it should never taken more than one day”, you say. Well Freddie thought hs eyes neede to heal, and thats good enough for me. To suggest the Braves didn’t want their best player back on the field quick is, well, typing before thinking!

IdahoBravesFan

May 31st, 2012
7:04 am

When it comes to a guy like Constanza it would be interesting to see what his scoring pct is? In essence, what percentage of the time when he is on base does he score? When he is on base he seems to make things happen. An infield slap single is just about a double every time and a single from there easily scores him.

Steve-O

May 31st, 2012
7:18 am

Sorry, guys, but I have been ill and guess I missed this. Pastornicky was sent down to Gwinnett? Lack of hitting, poor defense, or both? Wilson looked bad last night other than the clutch hit. Also, DOB, what does Walker need to do to get Heyward hitting again? He looks lost at the plate.

NORRIS CHUCK

May 31st, 2012
7:34 am

Anyone know what number Simmons will wear?

Winchester

May 31st, 2012
7:40 am

Venters is a real problem. He is now a definite liability to the small progress of this team. He needs AAA rehab and he needs it now that the revolving door is yielding success.

Way to go Constanza. Welcome to the Bigs, Mr. Simmons. Hurry back, Mr. Medlin.

BRAVES SUCK

May 31st, 2012
7:54 am

Braves, a bunch of OVERPAID,UNDER ACHEIVING CRY BABIES. Fredi G. GOT TO GO,NOW. Bobby Cox, we NEED YOU.

Short Sighted Fans We Are

May 31st, 2012
8:12 am

Let’s all remember that last year Constanza provided a spark as well. Then he started to struggle and everybody called for him to be sent down. Now, everybody is on the bandwagon again saying he’ll save the team. Let’s just remember that one or two games does not a season make

RTS

May 31st, 2012
8:14 am

It is so frustrating to see Braves prospects get to the big leagues and struggle(Heyward). Heyward and Stanton (Miami) both got to the big leagues at the same time and both are heading in opposite directions. Stanton is only getting better and I have no idea what is wrong with Heyward. He is a liability as far as offense is concerned. He is too inconsistent on offense.

RTS

May 31st, 2012
8:17 am

One thing for sure, no one can say Ugla does not give it his all 100% of the time. I am not sure several other BIG name members of this team would have hustled like that.

CRMAC300

May 31st, 2012
8:26 am

Lost 8 of last 10 and still only two games out of the division lead. Going to be a dogfight all year in the East. Critical early season series coming up with Wash and Miami. Need to win at least 4 out of 6 to remain relevant. Braves have been better on the road than at home. Hope they keep that up.

GoBravos124

May 31st, 2012
8:27 am

Maybe Heyward needs a pair of Oakleys . . . . couldn’t hurt to try them. Just order everyone some of those sports goggles in case they suddenly have eye problems.

urban redneck

May 31st, 2012
9:01 am

first is D U M dumb. please stop. the game last night was awesome, except for the part about us having a five run lead and givin it up. venters has some issues. please don’t start talking about swapping constanza and heyward. there is a reason georgie is pretty much a career minor leaguer.

oh yeah, i would agree with “braves suck” at 7:54 that the braves are underachievers if you could spell it. wait, no i wouldn’t, you dbag.

urban redneck

May 31st, 2012
9:08 am

anyone else think we should put our money into extending bourn instead of bmac?

Peachtree John

May 31st, 2012
9:50 am

Are Freeman’s glasses Oakleys or another brand. I need to know. Sounds like these glasses would be great motorcycle glasses too.
Thanks. jcmcginn01@bellsouth.net

wayn-o

May 31st, 2012
9:55 am

Urban, I’ve wondered the same thing.

As much as I love McCann, having a catcher as a primary offensive cog is bad. He is limited in playing games and they rarely have long careers. If the Braves had a much larger payroll then fine but they can’t put that much money into keeping him. Hopefully he’d take a home team discount.

Fastball

May 31st, 2012
10:16 am

Why take Huddy out after only 73 pitches. Oh, yeah, to save the bullpen. This guy doesn’t have a clue

Fastball

May 31st, 2012
10:47 am

Don’t extend Bourn

Kendell Jones

May 31st, 2012
10:56 am

Just in case you haven’t heard it, Simmons will be with the team as they leave on a trip to Washington and Florida. Nuff said.

Kendell Jones

May 31st, 2012
10:56 am

Just in case you haven’t heard it, Simmons will be with the team as they leave on a trip to Washington and Florida. Nuff said.

Kendell Jones

May 31st, 2012
10:56 am

Just in case you haven’t heard it, Simmons will be with the team as they leave on a trip to Washington and Florida. Nuff said.

Kendell Jones

May 31st, 2012
10:56 am

Just in case you haven’t heard it, Simmons will be with the team as they leave on a trip to Washington and Florida. Nuff said.

Kendell Jones

May 31st, 2012
10:56 am

Just in case you haven’t heard it, Simmons will be with the team as they leave on a trip to Washington and Florida. Nuff said.

Kendell Jones

May 31st, 2012
10:56 am

Just in case you haven’t heard it, Simmons will be with the team as they leave on a trip to Washington and Florida. Nuff said.

David O'Brien

May 31st, 2012
11:01 am

Sorry, guys, but I have been ill and guess I missed this. Pastornicky was sent down to Gwinnett? Lack of hitting, poor defense, or both? — Steve-O

Just in case you missed it, there is a story posted with quotes and Frank Wren’s explanation for the move.

Delbert D.

May 31st, 2012
11:14 am

@Peachtree John “Sounds like these glasses would be great motorcycle glasses too.”

I was wondering about that myself. I have decent peripheral vision only when I turn my head.

Swampdog

May 31st, 2012
11:55 am

Relieved to see Freeman and McCann back in there. Without them the Braves looked and performed like a three wheeled car.

James Toolin

May 31st, 2012
1:08 pm

Way to go guy’s. Bring out the long ball and those bats on the 1st day off the DL!

Mark's for the Braves

May 31st, 2012
2:13 pm

Don’t bring back Gonzo–he’s out for the year with the Brew crew! Looking forward to seeing what Simmons can do for us at SS. If his defense is fabulous and he bats .220 that is good enough.

Good win tonight and much needed momentum for the Nats series!

bobby

May 31st, 2012
2:38 pm

Still think Brian is having trouble with his eyes. Maybe he needs to try some glasses like FF has.

mlbeee

May 31st, 2012
10:09 pm

these comments are hilarious

Pellaz

June 1st, 2012
12:37 am

As the old baseball adage says, “Speed never slumps.” Good to see the Braves are remembering this.

Reinaldo Chamley

April 29th, 2013
10:47 pm

Quality of vision correction is one area where contact lenses are superior to glasses no matter who you are. Since the lens part of contact lenses sits directly on your eye and covers the seeing part of your eye completely, you will have corrected vision all around, including to the top, bottom, and sides, whereas with glasses, there is no correction for your peripheral vision. That can be problematic for activities like driving, or if the quality of your vision is important in your profession.`”

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