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Heyward Does It Again, Braves Topple Reds 6-4 In Ten Innings

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In a possible postseason preview between two first-place teams, the Braves and Reds staged a thrilling, back-and-forth affair Friday night. The game featured huge home runs, a home run- (and game-) saving catch, clutch strikeouts, and and yet another late-inning, go-ahead hit from Jason Heyward. The win came at a cost for the Braves, though: both starting pitcher Kris Medlen and All-Star second baseman Martin Prado left the game with injuries.

The Reds took a 3-1 lead in the third inning when Medlen allowed four straight two-out hits. Brian McCann evened the score in the fifth inning with another huge, game-tying home run (he's made a habit of those lately). Unfortunately, in the next inning, Kris Medlen was hit on the right (pitching) arm by a pitch from Reds starter Johnny Cueto. While the Braves would score moments later to make it 4-3, they would leave the bases loaded. To make matters worse, Medlen would not return to the mound. Early reports are that his injury was just an arm contusion, which likely means he won't miss much time.

The score remained the 4-3 until the eighth inning, when Reds slugger Joey Votto hit a towering solo homer off of Jonny Venters to tie it at 4. In the ninth inning, Brooks Conrad pinch hit for the Braves against Reds closer Francisco Cordero--the same pitcher who surrendered Conrad's memorable walk-off grand slam earlier this year. In an eerie replay, Conrad hit a fly ball that just cleared the fence, only this time right fielder Chris Heisey made a leaping catch to bring it back in the park.

Jesse Chavez worked a scoreless ninth inning for the Braves. In the 10th, Melky Cabrera and Prado worked walks off of Cordero, bringing up Heyward, who lined a single to left that scored Cabrera. When left-fielder Jonny Gomes couldn't corral the liner on the bounce, Prado came all the way around from first to score. Prado hurt himself on the slide, though; his right hand appeared to get caught under his body. There's no word yet on the severity of the injury.

Billy Wagner gave up a double and hit a batter in the bottom of the 10th but struck out Drew Stubbs to end the game. Braves win 6-4.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.