Braves quotes after Monday’s win at Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Braves quotes from Jason Heyward, Ervin Santana and manager Fredi Gonzalez after Monday’s win against the Pirates.


“We had some good at-bats, back-to-back homers from the first and second hitters. I tell you what, having Jason up there at the top of that order, that’s a big presence. And we had some good at-bats in the first inning, then Worley kind of settled down and kept us off-balance the rest of the time. And Santana, (gave up) three solo homers, two to Marte, and got himself out of some jams. I think the ball, just from watching it on the jumbotron, the ball just kept coming back over the fat part of the plate.”

Could have have been partly from having a big lead?

“The one thing you don’t want to do when you’ve got a big lead is walk people. I’m sure he’s thinking I’ve got to throw this ball over the plate and not walk anybody, so maybe. Who knows? It’s not easy pitching with a big lead. I think most pitchers like to be out there pitching with a one-run lead or two-run lead. It’s a little different mindset. But he kept us in the game there, kept himself in the game and got a win, and our bullpen did a nice job. Avi (Luis Avilan) came in and got those two left-handers… (James) Russell was able to get two innings so we didn’t have to use the back end of the bullpen, give those guys some rest, we’ve been using those guys pretty heavily the last four or five days.”

On starting the trip with a win after the 0-8 last trip

“This is good. This is a carry over of the last five or six days when we’ve been playing good baseball, and hopefully we can … the season is ebbs and flows, hopefully we’re on the top of one and we can ride it out for a little bit.”

Heyward swung at first pitch even before his homer (on third pitch), and Andrelton is always aggressive. Was that team approach tonight to be a little more aggressive early on, or just individuals?

“I think that’s just individual stuff. I think those guys come out and that’s just who they are. With Jason we’ve said don’t change your approach, whether you’re hitting fifth or the middle of the order, or leadoff. Just go out and be aggressive, get on base and do some damage. He can do a lot of stuff, and we’re a good club when he’s up there. Right off the get-go a pitcher has to contend with a guy that can run you out of the ballpark.”

“It’s nice, and we’ll keep running him out there.”


On his outing

“I didn’t have my stuff today, but for me it was one of my best games. Because I gave up three runs, and when you don’t have your best stuff and you give up (only) three runs, that’s huge. Three solo homers, it doesn’t hurt. I just have to thank my teammates. They scored earlier and we got the win.”

Were you primarily missing with your slider?

“Everything. I just had a little bit of control with the changeup, so I just moved the changeup (more prominently into the mix).”

On making adjustments to get out of some tight spots despite lack of stuff in your view

“Well, yeah. I just used more of my changeup today because I don’t have my slider and I don’t have my fastball most of the game either.”

“I was feeling it in the bullpen. I was like, it’s going to be a tough game today.”

Fastball location was up on a few pitches, was that what you were talking about?

“Yes, that’s one of the reasons. Everytime you leave a fastball up and they make a good swing, the ball’s going to carry.”

So you’re happy with the results, given the lack of your best stuff today?

“Of course, every time you give up three runs or less, it’s good. I’ll take it.”


On the win and scoring big early

“It’s good to keep the streak going at the moment, and it’s good to win the first game of a series.”

To score six runs in the first inning

“It’s huge, man. It gives our pitcher that much more breathing room, a lot more room for error. It’s nice to get everybody in the game. I know we didn’t score a whole lot the rest of the way, but still, that’s a lot of pressure for a team to come back against.”

On influencing the game from the leadoff spot

“I feel like it’s harder, from the leadoff spot. For me. There’s less moving runners over and less sac-fly situations, all those things. But when I’m able to, its’ awesome. Becaue the guys feed off of it. It’s just kind of good to get the ball rolling. Get that immediate pressure on the (opposing team).”

On crushing Worley in 1st, after he’s been so good at home all season

“I couldn’t tell you, just one of those nights maybe. The pitch I hit out, I was able to look at it (later). It wasn’t a bad pitch. He hit his spot. After that, we just kind of ran into some barrels. We had some good swings. We went up there confident. Once one guy saw it were were like, OK. We went up there to get something to hit, and we didn’t miss.”