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TEX@ATL: Heyward smacks a two-run single to left

ATLANTA -- The Braves offense hadn't had much luck in their frustrating series with the Rangers heading into Sunday's finale.

A go-ahead homer falling inches short. Jaw-dropping defensive plays. A dominating pitcher returning after a two-hour rain delay.

They finally got the ball to bounce their way again on Sunday.

Two Rangers errors in the third inning paved the way for a decisive three-run frame as the Braves knocked off Texas, 4-2, at Turner Field to avoid their first three-game sweep of the season.

"That's just the way it goes. This game will haunt you as a player, as a team," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You feel a little too cocky and a way below .500 team comes in and sweeps you. As a player, you feel like you got it figured out and the next thing you know, you've got seven punchouts. Whatever it is, it'll humble you. You've got to keep plugging away."

Jordan Schafer started the pivotal frame by reaching on catcher's interference by Yorvit Torrealba. After Dan Uggla lined a single through the left side of the infield, both runners advanced on a wild pitch by Rangers starter Alexi Ogando.

That's when the Braves took their first lead of what had been a trying Interleague series, as Jason Heyward lined a single just past the outstretched glove of diving shortstop Elvis Andrus to give Atlanta a two-run lead.

"We got some big hits today," catcher Brian McCann said. "We got some hits with runners in scoring position. J-Hey came up with a huge hit there with two outs."

Texas looked to have escaped further trouble, but another error by Torrealba pushed the lead to three. Alex Gonzalez lifted a high popup on the infield with two outs, but Torrealba collided with first baseman Michael Young and Heyward scored from first as the ball rolled into foul territory.

"That was a wild inning," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I still thought we had a chance to pick and peck and get something done, but the best we could do was score two runs."

Added Young: "He just didn't hear me call it ... it was one of those things."

That was all the Braves' staff would need. Starter Jair Jurrjens labored against the high-powered Rangers, throwing 116 pitches over just 5 1/3 innings. But he limited Texas to just one run -- an RBI single by Torrealba in the fourth -- despite allowing seven hits and picked up his ninth win.

"They really didn't make it easy on me," Jurrjens said. "That got two strikes and kept shortening their swings. They were fouling off really tough pitches. It's a really good lineup, and you don't really want to groove one in there and make it a big game."

Jurrjens escaped danger in each of the first two innings, as the Rangers stranded runners on the corners in the first while leaving the bases loaded an inning later.

Atlanta's starter departed with one out in the fifth after giving up a single and walk, but relievers Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill kept the Rangers in check with a flyout and a strikeout.

"Getting a win was huge," McCann said. "[Jurrjens] came out and pitched phenomenal. Bullpen stepped up. I can't say enough about what Scott Linebrink is doing -- pitching when he's supposed to be down and giving us two innings ... being a leader down in that bullpen."

Jurrjens' performance -- albeit not flashy -- was an improvement over his last few starts. He entered Sunday having lost two of his three starts in June and had seen his ERA rise from 1.51 at the end of May to 2.13.

"I worked on some stuff in the bullpen and side session and tried to find my release point again," Jurrjens said. "I feel much better with today's start. I'm not where I want to be ... I feel like my control is not as good as it was the first couple of starts."

Numbers aside, the right-hander was just happy to help Atlanta break into the win column for just the second time in six tries on this homestand.

"I'll take it. It's a big win for us," he said. "We'll try to start the next series with a bang and we can get another 'W' tomorrow."

Texas was able to scratch out another run in the seventh on a Josh Hamilton groundout, cutting the deficit to a run, but Freddie Freeman quickly got it back on an RBI ground-rule double in the bottom half of the frame.

Freeman had three hits after hitting .125 (3-for-24) with 15 strikeouts in his previous six games. He still experienced some that bad luck, however, being robbed of a hit at the wall by right field Nelson Cruz, while his ground-rule double would have scored two runs had it stayed in play.

"It's a young hitter learning the league and learning what it takes to play in the Major Leagues," Gonzalez said. "We're going to see some ups and downs. But overall, on June 20th, I'm really happy with his progress as a Major League hitter." Comments