Freeman Singles In Winning Run In Braves 5-4 Victory Over Twins

Evan Gattis Pinch-Hit Home Run Ties Game in Ninth

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Freddie Freeman
Freddie Freeman
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis added to the wonder of his rookie season with a two-out, ninth-inning home run that gave the Braves life and the opportunity to claim a spirited 5-4, 10-inning win over the Twins on Tuesday night at Turner Field.

Jason Heyward sparked the two-out, 10th-inning rally with a double off Brian Duensing, who then intentionally walked Justin Upton.

This set the stage for Freddie Freeman to deliver his game-winning single to right field and then take part in a walk-off celebration.

After the Twins took a 4-3 lead with a two-run eighth against Luis Avilan and Cory Gearrin, Gattis once again delivered in the clutch by coming off the bench to drill Glen Perkins' 0-1 slider over the left-field wall. The home run came just three days after the rookie catcher hit a decisive two-run, eighth-inning home run in Saturday's win over the Dodgers.

Three of Gattis' nine home runs in the first 118 at-bats of his career have come in pinch-hit at-bats. Two of them have been game-winners, and this latest one was a game-saver for the Braves, who have started this six-game homestand with five consecutive victories.

The late-inning magic produced by the Braves at least preserved the unselfish dedication Tim Hudson showed when he was willing to continue pitching after rain, and a problem with the stadium's lights, delayed play for 76 minutes in the third inning.

Hudson threw on the field twice during the lengthy delay and appeared determined to continue pitching when play resumed with Joe Mauer on first base and one out in the third. The Twins tied the game at 2 when Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau recorded consecutive singles immediately after the delay.

But Hudson proceeded to retire the final eight batters he faced. His ability to go five innings gave the Braves a chance to get through the rest of the game without digging into their injury-depleted bullpen in the early innings.

While Hudson returned after the delay, the Twins opted not to allow their starting pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, to keep going.

Brian McCann's second three-hit performance since returning from offseason shoulder surgery on May 6 helped the Braves hold a lead most of the night. McCann drove in a run with a single in the two-run first against Pelfrey and then highlighted his night with a go-ahead home run off Anthony Swarzak in the fourth.

Anthony Varvaro preserved Atlanta's one-run advantage with two scoreless innings. But the Twins broke through with two runs in the eighth against Avilan and Gearrin, who are serving as the Braves' top setup men in the absence of Eric O'Flaherty, who was scheduled to undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on Tuesday afternoon.

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