Heyward the hero with game-ending hit

Jason Heyward's middle name is Adenolith, which, roughly translated, means "I'm really good at baseball."

OK, that's probably not the translation.

He is, however, terrific at baseball. The ascendant rookie demonstrated that again Sunday with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning to lift the Braves to a stirring 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field.

"You want to be in situations like that," said Heyward, who punched a two-strike hit through the left side of the infield to clinch a 2-1 series win and ignite a celebration in the stands and another near second base, where excited Braves raced out to swarm their biggest, youngest teammate.

"It's awesome any time you can be in front of the home crowd and have a chance for a walk-off hit," said Heyward, who also had a bases-loaded walk and ranks among National League leaders with 15 RBIs -- more than any two other Braves combined.

On a day when Jair Jurrjens pitched eight strong innings (three runs, five hits, nine strikeouts) to quiet some concerns about his arm, and Matt Diaz had as many hits (three) through four innings as Braves leadoff hitters had all season, Heyward was the whole show at the end.

"To be a kid 22 or whatever and to go up there and get big hits like that, he's a special kid," Jurrjens said. "He's going to do a lot of that this year. The way he's taking close pitches and going the other way with pitches away … He's special."

Just one thing: Heyward isn't 22. He's 20. He's hitting .301 with three homers and a .423 on-base percentage in his first dozen games in the major leagues, after entering the season with 173 at-bats above the Class-A level in the minors.

His walk in the third inning gave the Braves a 2-1 lead, but the Rockies received homers from Ian Stewart in the seventh inning and Carlos Gonzalez in the eighth to go ahead 3-2.

Most of 26,546 fans rose in the ninth after Martin Prado singled against hard-throwing left-hander Franklin Morales and advanced on a balk, and Brian McCann walked.

Troy Glaus grounded to second for what looked like a game-ending double play, but the 245-pound veteran rumbled to first base and was safe on a close play.

With two out, Yunel Escobar walked to load the bases for Heyward, and energy and anticipation were palpable. Many of the same fans had been at the home opener, or at least seen the replay, of Heyward's three-run homer on the first swing of his career.

He took the first four pitches from Franklin for a 2-2 count then swung at the fifth fastball and drove it to left field, bringing home two runners and sending Heyward into an unusual (for him) show of excitement as he rounded first base and began jumping up and down until teammates mobbed him on the basepath.

"He's standing there next to me when everything's unfolding, and he's saying to himself, ‘Stay short, short stroke,' the entire time," hitting coach Terry Pendleton said of the ninth inning. "And he went up there and executed what he was trying to do. Stay short and not try to hit it too far."

Diaz said, “We talk about his maturity, but when you take a 20-year-old -- and I think he was 0-for-the-day going into that last at-bat -- and he stayed in the ball game long enough to put together that at-bat. He had a questionable call against him in the at-bat and he still stayed there. He’s got fortitude like no other 20-year-old. We say that over and over.

"The best part of it is we got to see a little emotion out of him, jumping up and down and yelling ‘Whoo-hoo.’ It was good to see that emotion.”

It was another day saved, another shaving cream pie in the face and messy postgame interview for the pride of Henry County and the toast of Braves Nation, not that he minded.

"Shaving cream -- that means we won the game," Heyward said, smiling. "You don't get shaving cream after you lose."