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Braves' Gattis tries to stay hot vs. Angels
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves are back on top in the National League East and shoot for a series win over the LA Angels of Anaheim Saturday from Turner Field.
The Braves are tied with the Washington Nationals for division supremacy after the Nats lost at St. Louis Friday night, when Atlanta handed the Angels a 4-3 setback in the series opener. The Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and it was enough to halt a two-game slide and win for the third time in the past five tries.
Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer and Chris Johnson followed with a solo shot for the Braves in the decisive frame. Gattis has 14 home runs and 34 RBI on the season, and has gone deep six times since May 25. He is riding a career- best 13-game hitting streak.
"It's just good to keep it going and get some knocks today," Gattis said. "I'm glad we won."
Aaron Harang earned the win with six innings of one-run ball and closer Craig Kimbrel nailed down his 19th save with two strikeouts in the ninth.
The Braves are 19-14 at home and will also host the rival Philadelphia Phillies for three games. In injury news for the club, outfielder Jason Heyward is day-to-day with a right hand contusion after he was hit by a pitch Friday in the first inning.
Gavin Floyd gets the start Saturday for Atlanta and is 1-2 with a 2.57 earned run average. Floyd picked up his first win of the season in Monday's 3-1 victory at Colorado and held the Rockies to a run in 6 2/3 innings.
Floyd, a right-hander, has made 10 career starts against the Angels, going 2-6 with a 5.27 ERA.
The Angels have dropped two in a row after winning five straight, and were put in a big hole early on Friday. Angels starter C.J. Wilson was able to settle down after the rough first inning, but it was too late and he fell to 7-6 on the season.
Wilson lasted six innings, struck out eight and walked two batters. Hank Conger scored on a wild pitch in the third inning and Albert Pujols stroked a two-run single in the eighth.
"That's the nature of our team in general. We have a lot of firepower," Wilson said of the Angels trying to rally. "Coming in and playing a pretty good team ... they're kind of like we are. We have a lineup that kind of hurts you from start to finish. We just couldn't put anything together against Harang tonight. It's frustrating."
Wilson was 6-0 in his previous 11 interleague starts.
The Angels opened a seven-game road trip last night and will also visit the Cleveland Indians for four games.
Taking the mound for the Halos Saturday will be Garrett Richards, who has allowed just one earned run over his last two starts (15 IP). He gave up that run in seven innings of Monday's 4-1 win over Oakland, one start after tossing eight shutout frames at Houston on June 4.
Richards is 6-2 with a 3.09 ERA and has never faced Atlanta. The righty has a 4-1 mark in eight road starts this season and is 2-0 in 12 interleague games (5 starts).
06/14 08:57:16 ET