Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) walks to home plate during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on Tuesday. (Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports)
The top of the order has started to become more productive for the Atlanta Braves.
Since moving Jason Heyward to the leadoff spot and Justin Upton to the No. 2 position, the team’s offense has come to life.
The two combined for three hits and four runs in Wednesday’s 6-3 win over Philadelphia.
Heyward is not a prototypical leadoff hitter. He’s 6-foot-4 and isn’t a great base stealer, even though he’s one of the team’s best baserunners. But since moving to leadoff, Heyward’s bat has come to life. He was 2-for-4 on Tuesday and 2-for-5 on Wednesdady and improved his batting average to .255, the highest it has been since the second game of the season.
“I’m fine doing it,” Heyward said.
“I’ve still got the same guy (Justin Upton) hitting behind me, still hitting with the same lineup, and having those guys at the bottom on base when I’m coming up is also nice to have.”
Heyward suffered through a miserable start of a season, one that included an emergency appendectomy that landed him on the disabled list. He didn’t get his average over .200 to stay until June 9. That has changed since he moved to the top of the order. Heyward is batting .382 (26-for-68) as a leadoff hitter.
Heyward got his fourth straight multi-hit game and sixth over the last seven games Wednesday. It was his 29th multi-hit game of the season.
Upton hit third most of the year, but slid up to the second spot 17 games ago and has responded with a power surge similar to the one that began the season. He picked up his 29th multi-hit game Tuesday and is now 41-for-119 (.345) over his last 27 games, with 25 runs and 22 RBIs.
The duo has helped spark Atlanta to the streak that has enabled it to establish an overwhelming lead in the National League East.
• SS Paul Janish ended an 0-for-27 streak that dated back to Aug. 3, 2012, with a base hit in the third inning Wednesday. He added his first RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Janish, considered a defensive whiz, was only starting his second game. He moved to second base when Tyler Pastornicky was injured and had four assists.
• LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.78) has thrived since getting a chance to pitch in the starting rotation. The rookie has won two of his last three starts with 17 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA over those 19 innings. Wood pitched six shutout innings in his last start (no decision) against Miami. He beat the Phillies 4-1 on Aug. 4, allowing one run in six innings.
• RHP Brandon Beachy (2-0) won his second straight start with six strong innings. Beachy struck out four and allowed six runs. He also walked and scored a run and executed a sacrifice bunt. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “I thought he did a nice job under the conditions.”
• 2B Tyler Pastornicky left Wednesday’s game in the fourth inning with a sprained left knee. Pastornicky collided with Jason Heyward while chasing a fly ball in shallow right field. Pastornicky spent a couple of minutes on the ground and stayed in the game. He left the next inning. He will be re-evaluated Thursday. “He’s fortunate because that’s a bad matchup for him,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
• RF Jason Heyward hit the first leadoff home run of his career Wednesday. Heyward is now 26-for-68 (.382) in the 18 games played since being moved into the leadoff spot on July 17. Heyward, a left-handed batter, is now 27-for-99 (.272) with three homers against left-handed pitching.
• 3B Chris Johnson had three RBIs Wednesday, which gives him 53. Johnson went 4-for-11 in the Philadelphia series and is 6-for-20 on the homestand. He now has a four-game hitting streak.
Quote to note
“He does it. He comes up big. Good for us. Good for him.” — Manager Fredi Gonzalez on 3B Chris Johnson, who had three RBIs Wednesday in a 6-3 win over Philadelphia.
• 2B Dan Uggla (eye surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He will undergo Lasik surgery in mid-August.
• LHP Paul Maholm (left wrist contusion) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 21. He pitched a simulated game Aug. 12. He will throw a 90-pitch rehab assignment with Class A Rome on Aug. 16.
• OF Reed Johnson (sore left Achilles tendon) went on the 15-day disabled list July 30.
• RHP Tim Hudson (broken right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list July 25. He underwent season-ending surgery July 26 to repair his fractured right fibula and deltoid ligament.
• LHP Jonny Venters (torn ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 4. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery May 16.
• INF Ramiro Pena (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 17. He underwent season-ending surgery June 27.
• LHP Eric O’Flaherty (torn ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list May 19, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 21. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery May 21.
• INF Blake DeWitt (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 20. He missed most of the second half of last season with back issues.
• RHP Cristhian Martinez (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7. He began a rehab assignment with Double-A Mississippi on June 25 but was shut down after two outings. He had season-ending surgery July 9.