Posted: Friday, July 18th 2014 at 10:46pm
Heyward, Simmons pace Braves past Phillies
By The Associated Press
Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward celebrates with his teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Atlanta, Friday, July 18, 2014. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward homered and drove in two runs, Andrelton Simmons had two RBIs, and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight game with a 6-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Returning from the All-Star break, the Braves moved one game ahead of Washington in the NL East. Last-place Philadelphia dropped 11 games behind Atlanta.
The game was played in a steady drizzle, but the rain had nearly stopped when Braves closer Craig Kimbrel earned his 30th save in 34 chances. He got Marlon Byrd on a groundout and struck out Grady Sizemore and Cody Asche.
Ervin Santana (8-6) gave up six hits, three walks and four runs - three earned - in six innings to win for the third time in four starts. He struck out one.
Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (6-9) allowed six runs, 10 hits - the last nine with two out - and one walk in five innings. He had five strikeouts as Philadelphia lost its third straight.
The Phillies led 2-0 in the second inning on Asche's sacrifice fly and Cameron Rupp's RBI single, but they trailed 4-2 in the bottom half after Heyward hit his ninth homer, B.J. Upton had an RBI single, and Simmons drove in two runs with a double.
Atlanta made it 6-2 in the fifth on RBI singles by Heyward and Tommy La Stella.
Philadelphia cut the lead to 6-4 in the sixth. Jimmy Rollins reached on first baseman Freddie Freeman's fielding error and moved to third on Chase Utley's double. Both runners scored on Ryan Howard's broken-bat, two-run bloop single.
Rollins led off the eighth with a walk off Jordan Walden, the third Atlanta pitcher, but he was thrown out at second base on Utley's strikeout. Heyward, the right fielder, charged in to make a diving catch of Howard's liner.
NOTES: Atlanta requested unconditional release waivers before the game on former All-Star 2B Dan Uggla. The Braves still owe Uggla, who hit.162 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 130 at-bats this year, over $18 million through the end of next season. ... Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said C Evan Gattis, on the disabled list with a back injury, is scheduled to get about 12 at-bats over the next three days and play in the field for two games as he continues a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. If he has no setbacks, Gattis will be activated for Monday's game against Miami. ... Phillies LHP Cliff Lee, after missing nine weeks with a strained left elbow, says he is ready to return to the rotation for his start Monday at home against San Francisco. ... The Braves recalled utility man Tyler Pastornicky to take Uggla's spot on the 25-man roster.
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