[May 14, 2014]SAN FRANCISCO -- At 6-foot-5 and 245
pounds, Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward doesn't often concern
himself with "wiggle room."
However, that was exactly what he was looking for -- and what he
got -- in a critical home-plate confrontation with San Francisco
Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday night.
Heyward ignited a three-run sixth inning with a stunning slide at
the plate, and the Braves snapped a five-game road losing streak
with a 5-0 victory over the Giants.
Matching their highest run total since April 19 and getting 6 1/3
innings of shutout pitching from left-hander Mike Minor, the Braves
beat the Giants for the first time in five meetings this season by
busting open a 1-0 game thanks in large part to Heyward's athletic
The game-changing showdown at the plate occurred after Heyward led
off the sixth with a single and alertly took second on left fielder
Justin Upton's flyball to center.
First baseman Freddie Freeman then blooped a single to right field,
and Braves third base coach Doug Dascenzo chose to challenge Hunter
The throw to the plate had Heyward beaten by 15 feet, but somehow he
managed to avoid Posey's standing tag with a body-contorting,
head-first dive, stunning the standout catcher and prompting a
challenge from Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
"I wasn't going to quit on the play," Heyward said. "I didn't feel
him touch me, and I could tell by his reaction he didn't think he
It took the umpires just 35 seconds to confirm the call on replay,
and Posey never argued.
"If I could go back, I would have jabbed out at him a little more,"
Posey said, acknowledging he missed the tag. "It does seem some guys
are getting creative with their slides."
Heyward didn't plan the maneuver, he insisted.
"I knew I couldn't hit him," he said of Major League Baseball's new
collision rule. "The only thing I had going for me was nobody knew
what the other guy was going to do. We were both conservative, and
that gave me a little wiggle room."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was as amazed as anybody.
"Somehow he gets his 6-5 body to go 5-2 and get by Posey," Gonzalez
said. "I don't know how a guy 6-5 gets by Posey."
For the second night in a row, a critical call went to replay.
Unlike Monday, this time the decision went in the Braves' favor. In
fact, two of them.
"Yesterday the replay got us. Today it got us two runs," Gonzalez
said, also including an overturned call at first base that produced
an Atlanta insurance run in the seventh inning. "That's the way the
system is supposed to work."
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who limited the Braves to one run on
three hits in the first five innings, never recovered from the
mishap at the plate. He walked catcher Evan Gattis, and after
getting a second out, served up RBI singles to center fielder B.J.
Upton and shortstop Andrelton Simmons to complete the three-run
The four-run cushion was more than enough for Minor (1-2), who was
making just his third start of the season. He allowed only three
hits, including a pair of Pence doubles, in his 6 1/3 innings,
walking two and striking out six.
"I felt any situation, any count, I could throw any pitch," said
Minor, who lost a 2-1 decision to the Giants on May 2. "For the most
part, I didn't think they knew what was coming."
Atlanta left-hander Ian Thomas pitched out of a seventh-inning jam,
and right-hander Anthony Varvaro stranded a runner in scoring
position in the eighth. Righty David Hale worked around a hit and a
walk in the ninth to complete Atlanta's second combined shutout in
the past four games and its National League-leading sixth of the
The Braves, who have not reached double figures in hits in any of
their past 15 games, out-hit the Giants 9-5. Freeman had two hits
and drove in two runs.
Seeking to run his streak of starts without a loss to four,
Vogelsong (1-2) instead suffered the loss after allowing four runs
on seven hits in six innings. He walked one and matched his career
high with eight strikeouts.
"He should have fared better than what happened," Giants manager
Bruce Bochy said. "He had really good stuff. He was cruising there."
NOTES: The first Atlanta run was the result of C Evan Gattis' first
career triple. ... The Braves are now 14-0 this season when scoring
first. ... When the Braves successfully challenged an out call on 1B
Freddie Freeman in the seventh inning, it made them 5-for-5 this
year when seeking an overturn on replay. ... The Giants went 0-for-7
with runners in scoring position and were shut out for just the
second time this season. ... Before the game, Braves manager Fredi
Gonzalez announced LHP Alex Wood would be inserted back into the
rotation Saturday in St. Louis and the club would use a six-man
rotation for the foreseeable future. Following RHP Julio Teheran in
the series finale in San Francisco on Wednesday, the Braves are now
scheduled to start RHP Ervin Santana on Friday, Wood on Saturday and
RHP Aaron Harang on Sunday in the trip-concluding series against the
Cardinals. ... Giants 1B Brandon Belt had surgery to have two pins
inserted into his broken left thumb Tuesday. His timetable remains
the same: He is expected to be out six weeks. ... Giants CF Angel
Pagan was pulled from the game in the eighth inning with soreness in
his knee. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would give his leadoff hitter
Wednesday's game off.