Baseball / Sports

Dawson has a broom on his side hoping for a sweep against the Cincinnati Reds, during the Atlanta Braves "Bark in the Park" at Turner Field in Atlanta, Sunday, April 27, 2014. The Braves defeated the Reds in 10 innings, 1-0. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

Freeman's two-out hit gives Braves a 10-inning walkoff win over Reds

ATLANTA -- What had been a frustrating afternoon for Freddie Freeman turned into something entirely different in the 10th inning Sunday, when he lined a two-out single to center field to give the Braves a 1-0 walk-off win against the Reds and a series sweep at Turner Field.

"I like those opportunities," said Freeman, who had been 0-for-5 with two strikeouts before his game-ending hit gave the Braves their 12th win in 15 games and third win in five 1-0 games this season.

Jason Heyward singled up the middle with two out to get the Braves started in the 10th. B.J. Upton followed with a comebacker that became a single when pitcher J.J. Hoover reached up to field it and had the ball skip off his glove.

The Reds brought in left-hander Manny Parra to face Freeman, who lined a 1-0 fastball to the warning track to bring home the winning run and bring the rest of the Braves racing from the dugout to mob the big first baseman on the basepath. Last year Freeman was second in the majors with a .443 average with runners in scoring position, including .411 with two outs.

"Being in the middle of the lineup, you like the RBI opportunities and definitely at the end of the game," he said. "And I saw that weather coming and wanted to get out of here."

A thunderstorm began about 10 minutes after the last pitch, after a week's worth of near-perfect weather for the Braves' 5-1 homestand. They will enjoy a day off Monday in Miami before starting a three-game series Tuesday against the Marlins.

Until the 10th inning, pitching was the order of the day and a highly anticipated duel between starters Julio Teheran and Jonny Cueto lived up the billing.

Teheran and Cueto each limited the opposition to three hits in eight scoreless innings, with Cueto ringing up 11 strikeouts and trimming his ERA to 1.15. Teheran had five strikeouts and two walks and lowered his ERA to 1.47, including 0.38 over his past three starts.

"I was locked in, trying to do my job," Teheran said. "I knew the first team that scored was the one that was going to win."

Rookie left-hander Ian Thomas (1-0) earned his first major league decision by coming on to coax a foul pop-up by pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina with two on and two out in the 10th inning, after David Carpenter had allowed a pair of singles.

"I want them to trust me -- I want them to know they can call down and I'll be ready to go," said Thomas, pitching for the first time in a week.

Teheran has surrendered just one run and 11 hits in 24 innings in his past three starts, with only one decision to show for it. That was a 1-0 win against Cliff Lee at Philadelphia, when Teheran threw the only regular-season shutout by a visiting pitcher since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.

"He has hooked up against some big-game pitchers, established major league aces, and has gone pitch-for-pitch with them," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Teheran was asked if he felt like he had arrived as an elite pitcher. "Now I feel like one of those guys," he replied.

Sunday marked the 22nd time in 24 games this season that a Braves starter allowed two earned runs or fewer.

After Ryan Ludwick's leadoff double in the fifth inning, Teheran retired the next 10 batters and 12 of the last 13 he faced, allowing only an eighth-inning walk in that stretch. Ludwick advanced to second base on a fly out, and Teheran struck out the next two batters to end the fifth inning.

The other hits allowed by Teheran were an infield single by rookie speedster Billy Hamilton in the third inning and a second-inning double that bounced off center fielder B.J. Upton's glove after he lost the ball in the sun.

Upton wore sunglasses in similar conditions in the past, but began wearing prescription glasses this weekend and had not received a pair of prescription sunglasses that are on order. So he was wearing his regular, non-tinted glasses in the field.

Only three runners advanced past first base against Teheran, who got an assist from Gerald Laird in the third inning when the catcher gunned down Hamilton trying to steal second after the infield hit.

The Braves had scoring opportunities in the first, fifth and sixth innings against Cueto, who began the day with a majors-leading .140 opponents' average, and was coming off consecutive three-hit complete-game wins against Pittsburgh.

In the first inning, B.J. Upton drew a one-out walk and Justin Upton singled with two out before Chris Johnson popped out. In the fifth, Andrelton Simmons hit a one-out double that bounced over the right-center fence. Laird walked and Teheran laid down a sacrifice bunt. With two in scoring position, Heyward struck out to end the inning.

In the sixth, Justin Upton hit a two-out double and Johnson walked before Dan Uggla struck out looking, his third consecutive strikeout. Uggla was 1-for-16 with 10 strikeouts in his past five games before singling with two out in the ninth.

Reds manager Bryan Price was ejected after challenging the safe call on a pickoff play when B.J. Upton dove back to first base with Freeman batting. The replay shown on the stadium video board appeared to show Upton was out, but the call was upheld, at which point Price stepped back on the field, pointed to the video board, and got tossed.

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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