In the eighth inning, the Braves got their wish.
“Everybody’s mind was mentally tough,” Heyward said. “Just hanging in there. Not trying to do too much at the plate, just trying to do whatever we could to prolong the inning, prolong the game.”
Heyward singled to cap a three-run rally and the Braves took advantage after a reversed call, beating the New York Mets 8-7 Saturday for their sixth consecutive win.
The Braves’ comeback prevented a shaky R.A. Dickey from getting his 11th win in a row. Bobby Parnell (2-2) gave up RBI singles with two outs in the eighth to Michael Bourn, Martin Prado and Heyward.
Parnell had held opponents scoreless in his previous nine appearances, but his struggles caused New York’s bullpen to drop to 11-18 this season, 15-37 when allowing a run.
“This team is going to battle you the whole nine,” Heyward said. “It’s great to get a win, and a team win at that.”
Mets manager Terry Collins was ejected while disputing a call in Atlanta’s two-run fifth.
With the score 3-all and Prado on first base with one out, Heyward hit a sinking liner that left fielder Jordany Valdespin charged. Third base umpire Dale Scott, the crew chief, initially ruled Valdespin made a diving catch and Prado, who had reached second, was trapped while retreating for an apparent inning-ending double play.
But after the umpires conferred, they ruled – correctly, as replays showed – that Heyward’s ball bounced. The umpires then placed Prado safely on second.
“It was the right call,” Collins said.
Scott said Valdespin’s body blocked his view of the attempted catch, so he initially called Heyward out.
Dickey allowed eight hits and two walks in five innings.
Anthony Varvaro (1-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in the eighth.
In the ninth, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel struck out the side to convert his 19th straight save opportunity. Kimbrel has earned his 27 of 28 chances this season.
“Giving our closer the ball with the lead in the ninth is awesome,” Heyward said. “He is. That’s why it’s awesome to give him the ball in the ninth inning with the lead and not have to waste him on a tie game.”
Parnell gave up three hits while getting only one out. He was the third Mets pitcher of the inning, with Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato also each being charged with a run.
Collins wasn’t upset with Parnell’s performance.
“He didn’t make bad pitches,” Collins said. “They just hit it. They hit it where nobody was standing.”
Ike Davis hit his 13th homer and Andres Torres’ RBI single tied it at 3 in the fourth. The Mets got RBI singles from pinch hitter Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada and Valdespin to take a 6-5 lead in the sixth. Tejada added an RBI single in the eighth to make it 7-5.
Braves starter Tommy Hanson gave up six runs on five hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings.
Dickey’s numbers didn’t look good after his exit, but Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said nothing came easily against the Mets ace.
“He gave up some runs, but I don’t know that we hit the ball particularly hard against him,” Gonzalez said. “In the scorebook they count as hits. But the first two hits he gave up were an infield single by Heyward, then (Brian McCann) blooped one in there. But we battled him and got him out of there and got into their bullpen.”