Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/12/13
For a trip that started with a match-up between Mike Minor and Cliff Lee Thursday’s Freddy Garcia vs. Brian Flynn pairing lacked a little luster. But it served the Braves’ purposes just fine. The Braves unleashed six runs – including two on Freddie Freeman’s 20th home run - on Marlins September call-up Flynn on their way to a 6-1 win to claim the series 3-1. The Braves finished this road trip 3-4 after a sweep in Philadelphia but shaved four games off their magic number along the way. The magic number was six pending the outcome of the Mets-Nationals game Thursday. The Braves headed home – where they are a majors’ best 51-20 - for a weekend series with the Padres. The earliest the Braves can clinch the NL East is Sunday at Turner Field in the last of a three-game homestand. But it’s not all bad if the Braves find themselves popping champagne early next week in the visiting clubhouse of the second-place Washington Nationals either. For Thursday though the Braves celebrated Freeman’s 24th birthday as he reached the 20-home run plateau for the third straight season. Freeman who went 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs used a two-run shot off Flynn to reach 98 RBIs on the season. Freeman is two shy of becoming the first Brave to drive in 100 runs since 2007 when both Chipper Jones (102) and Jeff Francoeur (105) did it. It was his 14th three-hit game of the season. Chris Johnson went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs to raise his season average to .330 which trails the Rockies’ Michael Cuddyer (.334) in the NL batting race. Evan Gattis doubled in two runs to give him 10 RBIs in nine games since his return from Triple-A Gwinnett. He is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with four doubles and four home runs over that time.
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