Monday, June 16, 2014
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Heyward's bat, glove guide Braves past Angels

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[June 16, 2014]  ATLANTA -- The only team in the majors without an interleague win prior to Friday, the Atlanta Braves now have their first series victory against an American League club this year.

Jason Heyward homered and made two highlight catches as the Braves came from behind for a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday night before a crowd of 29,320 at Turner Field.

Rookie second baseman Tommy La Stella, who had three hits, capped a lead-changing sixth inning with a two-run double off Angels starter Hector Santiago (0-7). Heyward hit his eighth homer of the season in the seventh.

"You want to start off in the big leagues on the right foot, and I've been able to do that," said La Stella, who has nine multi-hit games out in 16 major league games since being promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett. He is batting .411.

A second victory in the three-game series gave the Braves (36-32) a one-game lead over the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins in the National League East. The Angels (37-31) fell 4 1/2 games behind the Oakland A's in the American League West.

Mike Trout hit a homer and three singles for the Angels, but he might have had five hits if not for Heyward. The Braves right fielder made a diving catch to rob the Angels center fielder, and he also raced back to the fence to snare for another drive.

"If Jason didn't make those two plays, we might lose the game," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Trout finished 7-for-14 in the series with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs. He also made a diving catch Sunday.

"I'm a fan," said Gonzalez, relieved not to have to play against Trout often.

After getting just one runner to second base through five innings, the Braves finally broke through against Santiago in the sixth. The left-hander gave up a walk and three consecutive singles after one out, with hits by catcher Evan Gattis and left fielder Justin Upton driving in runs.

Reliever Kevin Jepsen then gave up a two-run double to La Stella as the Braves took a 4-3 lead.

Santiago, who pitched six scoreless innings in a no-decision Tuesday against Oakland, was charged with the four runs. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings.

"Luck turned their way," said Santiago, feeling he was still making good pitches. "The better pitches I made, the luckier they got."

Cam Bedrosian gave up Heyward's homer on a 1-1 changeup and threw a wild pitch a allow another run in the seventh. Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa surrendered a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Ryan Doumit.

Anthony Varvaro (2-1) got credit for the victory, striking three over perfect sixth and seventh innings. Jordan Walden retired the Angels in order in the eighth with two strikeouts. In the ninth, after David Carpenter gave up a one-out single to Trout and hit first baseman Albert Pujols with a pitch, closer Craig Kimbrel recorded two consecutive strikeouts for his 20th save in 23 chances.

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Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, who later left the game due to a sore left hip, picked on a grooved 2-0 fastball from Braves left-hander Mike Minor and lined his fifth homer of the season into the left field seats leading off the second inning.

Trout, who has an 18-game interleague hitting streak, took advantage of a hanging 1-1 breaking ball to lead off the third inning with a no-doubt blast to left field for his 14th long ball of the season.

The homers were the eighth and ninth allowed by Minor in nine starts this year. The Angels added a second third-inning run on an RBI single by second baseman Howie Kendrick to go up 3-0.

Minor allowed 11 hits and three runs while laboring through five innings after giving up 11 hits and eight runs over four innings in a loss at Colorado last Tuesday. The left-hander struck out six and walked one as the Angels left nine runners on base against him.

"When I saw the 11 hits, I thought I'd pitched better than that," Minor said. "I guess I was lucky to hang in there and give up just three runs."

NOTES: Angels RHP Fernando Salas, who pitched two scoreless innings to get the victory in Saturday night's 13-inning game, was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of nerve irritation in his arm. RHP Dane De La Rosa was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. De La Rosa pitched once for Los Angeles in April before going on the disabled list because of a forearm strain and a shoulder impingement. ... Manager Mike Scioscia rejoined the Angels after missing Saturday's game to attend the funeral of former Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Bob Welch in Arizona. ... Bench coach Dino Ebel filled in for Scioscia on Saturday, and he is 3-0 at the helm this season. ... The weekend interleague series was just the second for the Angels in Atlanta. They took two of three games in 2005. ... The Angels begin a four-game series against the Indians in Cleveland on Monday night, while the Braves open a three-game home series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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