Major League Baseball

Braves win 10th straight behind 3 homers in 8th

by George Henry, The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Dan Uggla homered in the eighth inning, and Juan Francisco hit a pair of solo shots earlier in the game to help the Atlanta Braves win their 10th straight with a 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Atlanta's 10-game winning streak is its longest since the club won 15 straight from April 15-May 2, 2000. The Braves are 12-1 and off to their best start since they began the 1994 season 13-1.

Eric O'Flaherty (3-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in a scoreless eighth for the win in relief.

Heyward's second homer, Upton's eighth and Uggla's third were solo shots off Kelvin Herrera (1-1), who gave up three hits, four runs and one walk in two-thirds of an inning. The Braves have outhomered opponents 25-7 and outscored opponents 68-25 for the best run differential in the majors.

Heyward hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth with an opposite-field shot into the left-field seats before Upton and Uggla followed to make it 5-2.

After Francisco walked to chase Herrera, Chris Johnson followed with an RBI single off Aaron Crow that scored pinch-runner Jordan Schafer from second.

Luis Avilan recorded the first out of the ninth before seeming to injure his left hamstring. Avilan limped slowly off the field with the help of trainer Jim Lovell and manager Fredi Gonzalez before getting carted off the field.

Closer Craig Kimbrel finished off the Royals by striking out pinch-hitter Billy Butler, giving up an RBI single to Alex Gordon and retiring Alcides Escobar on a groundout. It was a non-save situation for Kimbrel.

The Royals, who have lost three of four, led 2-1 in the fourth when Salvador Perez reached on Francisco's throwing error, moved to second on Mike Moustakas' single and scored on Jeff Francoeur's RBI single.

Except for Francisco, who hit his second homer to make it 1-0 in the second and his third to tie it at 2 in the seventh, the Braves were unable to do much against Kansas City starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

Atlanta's first five batters were a combined 0 for 14 with one walk and five strikeouts against Guthrie, who gave up five hits, two runs and one walk with six strikeouts in seven innings. Guthrie was trying to win his eighth straight decision dating back to last August.

Chris Getz tied it at 1 in the third off Braves starter Kris Medlen. Getz, Kansas City's No. 8 hitter, homered for the first time in nearly four years.

Medlen, who was trying to improve to 17-3 in his career as a starter, allowed six hits and two runs — one earned — with no walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.

Notes: The Braves held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday. ... Players, managers and coaches for both teams wore No. 42 on their jerseys to honor Jackie Robinson. ... Atlanta committed three errors. ... Getz last homered on July 19, 2009, when he played for the Chicago White Sox. He went deep off Guthrie, who was pitching for Baltimore. ... Francoeur, a former Braves RF, played his first game at Turner Field with Kansas City. He had an outfield assist and went 2 for 4 with an RBI. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman said before the game that his right oblique is healing and that he expects to come off the DL as scheduled on April 22 at Colorado. ... Braves SS Paul Janish began a rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Gwinnett.



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