Heyward homers as Braves continue hot stretch with win over Pirates

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves keep piling up the runs in May. It's no surprise they're also piling up the wins.

Jason Heyward homered, Martin Prado drove in three runs, including the go-ahead run in the sixth, and the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 on Saturday night to win for the ninth time in 11 games.

The Braves, who overcame a two-run triple by Pirates pitcher Brian Burres, are 18-8 in May. They have scored six or more runs in 14 of the 18 wins, including each of four straight wins.

Prado, the leadoff hitter, said a key to the Braves' surge has been Heyward's move to the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Heyward, a rookie, is hitting .298 and leads Atlanta with 10 homers and 36 RBIs.

"I think they worry too much about me," said Prado, who leads the National League with 67 hits. "I think he's going to be one of the best two-hole hitters in the game because he's got speed, he's got power. You put a guy like Chipper Jones behind him, you're going to be fine."

Heyward, who also hit a double, shrugged when asked about reaching double figures in homers.

"A home run's a home run," he said. "A double's a double. But a win is a win. That's what counts."

The Pirates (20-30) have lost four straight and eight of 10 to fall a season-worst 10 games below .500.

Heyward hit his 10th homer and Troy Glaus had a two-run double for Atlanta.

Braves right-hander Kris Medlen (2-1) gave up nine hits and three runs in six innings. Burres (2-3) allowed seven hits and four runs in five innings.

Following a 24-minute rain delay, Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save. The save was the 391st of his career, moving Wagner past Dennis Eckersley for fifth place on the all-time list.

Javier Lopez took over for Burres after David Ross led off the sixth with a single. Lopez threw two wild pitches as Nate McLouth was attempting to bunt, sending Ross to third base. Lopez hit McLouth with a pitch.

One out later, Prado's sacrifice fly to right field allowed Ross to score for a 4-3 Atlanta lead. Prado added a two-run double in the eighth.

"You can't give them too many chances and let them capitalize on them," Pirates manager John Russell said.

Heyward's homer gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the first. He added a double in the fifth.

Andrew McCutchen led off the third with his sixth homer -- all on the road -- to tie the game.

The Pirates took a 3-1 lead with three straight two-out hits in the fourth. Lastings Milledge singled to left and moved to third on Ronny Cedeno's double. Burres drove in both runners with a triple past McLouth in center field.

"At the time, it was a big pickup for me," Burres said. "I was pumped. It was better to be at third than second."

It was the first triple by a Pittsburgh pitcher since April 10, 2004, when Kip Wells hit the only triple of his career at Cincinnati.

The Braves tied the game in the fifth on the double by Glaus.

Pittsburgh wasted a chance in the sixth when Ryan Doumit led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Medlen made up for the wild pitch by picking off Doumit with a quick throw to second.

"We had opportunities," Russell said. "The pickoff hurt us. ... [Medlen] is quick. He's a good athlete."

The Pirates continued to find a way to keep Neil Walker in the lineup. Walker, who has made three starts at third base, made his second start at second base and had two hits and a walk. It was Walker's third two-hit game since he was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Game notes
Braves C Brian McCann was held out for the third straight game with a strained right quadriceps. He took batting practice and said the injury does not hamper his ability to crouch behind the plate. ... RHP Jair Jurrjens (left hamstring) threw 30 pitches in the bullpen. Manager Bobby Cox said Jurrjens will need to throw three or four more bullpen sessions and a simulated game before he begins a minor league rehabilitation assignment. ... Pirates bench coach Gary Varsho was away from the team to attend his daughter's high school graduation in Wisconsin. ... Cedeno had two hits in his return after missing one start with tightness in his lower back.