Jason Heyward homers, drives in 2 as Braves beat Cardinals 5-2 to complete 3-game sweep

  • Article by: CHARLES ODUM , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 28, 2013 - 11:25 PM

ATLANTA — Jason Heyward might be staying in the leadoff spot.

Heyward homered and drove in two runs to help the Atlanta Braves beat St. Louis 5-2 on Sunday night, capping their first three-game sweep of the Cardinals at home in 10 years.

Heyward hit leadoff for the second straight night and only the third time this season. He has nine homers, including two in the series between NL division leaders.

"I'm getting more comfortable in general," Heyward said. "The more you move, it is hard to get comfortable."

When he moved Heyward to the leadoff spot on Saturday, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was "just tinkering." After Sunday night's game, Gonzalez said he's sticking with Heyward atop the lineup "right now, the way we set up."

Gonzalez said the "common denominator" in the three-game sweep was dominant starting pitching.

Following strong starts by Mike Minor and Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen (7-10) allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings to snap his three-game losing streak.

The three wins came after Tim Hudson, the leader of the staff, sustained a season-ending broken right ankle Wednesday night in New York.

"Nobody needs to be Huddy," Gonzalez said. "Nobody needs to be the ace or that kind of label. Believe me, I'm going to fight that the next two months when we're pitching well. Collectively, I think, as a unit you circle the wagons, you go out there and you get those three performances that we had."

The Cardinals, who lead the NL in batting average and scoring, were held to three runs in the series.

"Obviously, going in we had confidence that we could control their lineup, but knowing the kind of lineup that they have, I'm trying to avoid saying that we were surprised they scored only three runs in the series," Medlen said. "I just think it's how good we are as a staff and as a bullpen. Mike Minor and Julio did a great job and I just wanted to continue that."

The Cardinals aren't accustomed to such meager offense.

"Their guys threw well," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think we probably weren't as locked in as we've been a good portion of this season either, so that makes for a tough combination."

The Braves broke a 2-all tie with two runs in the sixth inning off rookie Shelby Miller (10-7) and two relievers. Pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich drove in Chris Johnson with the go-ahead run. Heyward added another run-scoring single.

Miller allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings.

The Cardinals were swept in a road series for the first time this season.

"You never want to go into a place and get swept," Miller said. "We were battling the whole time. I don't think we had a terrible series, we just didn't come out on top in any of the games."

The Braves finished their first three-game sweep of the Cardinals at Turner Field since April 2003.

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