ST. LOUIS -- Livan Hernandez is finally getting a handle on his new-found role as a reliever.

"I'm starting to enjoy it," he said. "I like [hanging] with the guys out there."

The 37-year-old veteran right-hander made the 11th -- and most impressive -- relief appearance of his 16-year career on Friday night.

Hernandez worked out of bases-loaded jams in the 10th and 11th innings and was rewarded with the victory when Jason Heyward blasted a two-run homer in the top of the 12th in a 9-7 Braves victory over the Cardinals.

The 43-pitch stint included some anxious moments, but Hernandez emerged unscathed. He got pinch-hitter David Freese to ground into an inning-ending bases-loaded double play in the 10th. He induced Allen Craig to pop out with the sacks jammed in the 11th.

Hernandez picked up the first save of his career with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in a 13-9 win at Colorado on May 5.

With 474 starts under his belt, Hernandez is slowly adapting to life in the 'pen. He isn't ready to unseat Craig Kimbrel as closer, but he is certainly having fun.

"It's different, but it makes me ready for any situation," he said. "In the bullpen, you've got to stretch every inning because you never know when you're going to be in the game."

Kimbrel said Hernandez -- who signed with the Braves as a reliever hours after being released bu the Astros on March 30 -- has that natural bullpen mentality.

"He fits right in with the guys," Kimbrel said. "He's one of us now."

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez says Hernandez has the perfect makeup for his new role.

"There are a lot of situations when he never gives up," Gonzalez said. "He knows exactly who to pitch to and how to pitch to a certain hitter."

Hernandez is 1-0 with one save and a 3.38 ERA in 11 appearances this season. He has thrown as little as one inning and as much as 4 1/3 innings.

"It's all different for me, but I'm really happy," he said.

Chipper appreciates ovation from Cards fans

ST. LOUIS -- Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones was moved by the standing ovation he received from the St. Louis fans when he stepped to the plate in the first inning on Friday.

The crowd of 45,190 rose to its feet after Jones' name was announced. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina called time and walked slowly to the mound to give Jones time to enjoy the moment.

Jones, 40, announced in Spring Training that this would be his last season. The veteran was surprised by the 45-second ovation. He stepped out of the batter's box and tipped his helmet as the crowd noise grew even louder.

"That was very classy by the St. Louis fans," Jones said. "They are widely regarded as the best fans in baseball and they showed it. I'm not used to getting that kind of reaction on the road."

At first, Jones was stunned by the tribute.

"I didn't know what to do," he said. "Kudos to Yadi for giving me that moment."

The ovation came at a key spot early in the game. The Braves had scored and were on their way to a 2-0 lead when the fans took time away from their loyalty to honor Jones.

"It was nice," said closer Craig Kimbrel. "We've gone through a few ballparks this season and they've honored him before the game. But for that to happen during the game, it was a really cool thing to see."

Jones, who went 2-for-4 in the 12-inning affair, said he has always loved playing in St. Louis because the fans have a high level of respect for the game.

"This was not expected, but it was much, much appreciated," Jones said.

The gesture came on a night when the St. Louis organization retired the uniform of former manager Tony La Russa in a pregame ceremony. La Russa's No. 10 was mowed into the center-field grass as part of the honor.

Jones also wears No. 10, which led to some good-natured ribbing from his teammates.

"The guys were making fun of me saying that St. Louis is such a classy organization that they mowed No. 10 into the grass for me," Jones said with a laugh.

Hinske likely to avoid suspension after ejection

ST. LOUIS -- The Braves' Eric Hinske will apparently not be suspended after he was ejected in the eighth inning of Friday's game by home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski.

After a disputed strike-three call on a check swing, Hinske went nose-to-nose with Muchlinski and was quickly thrown out. He tossed his bat into the air and it almost hit manager Fredi Gonzalez, who was coming out to protect his player.

"I've never seen him act like that, he was pretty emotional," Gonzalez said.

Hinske said it was a simple disagreement.

"I didn't go [around], that's why I acted like I did," he noted.

Since the Braves had not heard from the National League office as of late Saturday afternoon, Hinske will probably escape a suspension. A fine is still a possibility.

Hinske believes it is the third ejection of his 11-year career.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jair Jurrjens tossed a seven-inning complete game on Friday in helping the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves to a 3-2 win over Toledo in an International League contest.

Jurrjens improved to 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA. He gave up eight hits, struck out two and walked one.

"He did OK," said Atlanta manger Fredi Gonzalez.

Jurrjens was 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts for Atlanta this season before he was sent to Gwinnett on April 24.

• Gwinnett announced the signing of outfielder Felix Pie, who was available on Saturday. Pie, who hit a career-best .266 with the Orioles in 2009, was playing independent league baseball.

• The Braves are 49-48-1 on Mother's Day, including a 5-2 win at Philadelphia last season.