Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 5/19/13
ATLANTA There are two ways to view the Braves' weekend sweep of the Dodgers: The pessimist might point out how Atlanta encountered a deficit heading into the sixth inning all three games, an odd sight for a first-place, home-standing club taking on a last-place team seemingly on the road to nowhere. The optimist would characterize Sunday's comeback victory where the Braves rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to forge a 5-2 win as yet another example of a championship contender coming up big in clutch situations. They might also note how the Braves trotted out a starting lineup that didn't include B.J. Upton, Chris Johnson, Evan Gattis or Dan Uggla and still ended up with a positive result. Either way, Atlanta has plenty to be thankful for Sunday night from the umpires who didn't call the game early after two long rain delays (one before first pitch and a 33-minute interruption in the 6th) ... to the cavalcade of small-ball playmakers who helped the Braves become the first National League East club to 25 wins. "It's just the way this team is. We play 27 outs, we play till the end," said catcher Gerald Laird, whose pinch-hit RBI single tied the game at 2 in the 8th. "This team knows what they're doing, especially when we can get some guys on base. We've won a lot of games with the long ball, but today, we played 'small ball' and got ourselves in a good situation." For the second straight outing, the Braves pitchers allowed three or less hits against the struggling Dodgers (17-25). Kris Medlen and Co. stifled the Los Angeles bats on Saturday; and Mike Minor, Anthony Varvaro, Luis Avilan and Craig Kimbrel took care of business on Sunday with the final three hurlers allowing zero hits for innings 7-9. "Our pitching was good, really good," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez in his postgame address. "We hung around, and (the pitchers) gave us a chance to win." In six strong innings (preceding the second rain delay), Minor fanned nine batters and allowed just two runs on three hits, with none coming after Matt Kemp's RBI double in the 3rd. "(Minor) did a helluva job, wiggled himself out of a few situations," beamed Gonzalez. "It's to the point where you can't wait for his next start ... because he just keeps getting better and better." For a while, it seemed like Minor would suffer his third defeat of the season, with the Braves struggling at the plate (and on the base paths). But everything ultimately changed in the 8th, beginning with a seemingly innocent single from Freddie Freeman (1 for 4). That prompted a Brian McCann walk, a Dodgers error on Andrelton Simmons' picture-perfect bunt on the wet grass and Laird's RBI single the surprising result of five days between appearances. So much for layoff rust, as Laird crushed Brandon League's first pitch into right field to score Freeman. "It's just one of those things ... you have to get the best pitch you can, and sometimes, it's that first pitch," said Laird, who opted for League's fastball, instead of waiting on his wicked slider. The Braves' mood-altering inning continued with Ramiro Pena's sacrifice-fly RBI (scoring McCann), Chris Johnson's pinch-hit single (scoring Simmons) and Jordan Schafer's textbook sacrifice bunt Atlanta's second successful drag of the stanza scoring Laird. "It was a big win. And it just goes to show guys (again) we can win at anytime," said Laird. With the roaring weekend just a memory now, the Braves can look forward to 10 consecutive games against sub-.500 clubs starting with the Twins (home), Mets (road) and a four-game set with the American League's Blue Jays, as part of a Major League Baseball initiative to spice up 15 Interleague encounters, from May 27-30, with home-and-home series for every matchup. Visa issues aside (when entering Canada), the pessimist would have trouble finding fault with the Braves' remaining May docket.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Details emerge on Brady's injury: 'Right thumb bent back badly'

Roy Halladay autopsy shows he had mix of drugs in system

Report: Indians, Orioles had discussed Manny Machado trade

Report: Jets WR threatened to sexually assault cop's wife

Tom Brady has 'just a cut' near knuckle, needed stitches

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFL determines Raiders complied with Rooney Rule

Report: Todd Haley wants to be Cardinals’ offensive coordinator

Kemba Walker would be ‘devastated’ if Hornets trade him

Foles ‘wanted to retire’ after spending a year with Fisher

New study: NFL concussion protocol won’t protect players from CTE

Michelle Beadle blasts ‘obnoxious, misogynist’ LaVar Ball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Nassar's victims put USA Gymnastics, MSU on trial

The 'One of these things is not like the other' quiz

Top 25 times franchise players have changed scenes in MLB

The best college hoops game to watch down the stretch

NHL Weekender: Kings, Leafs heading in the wrong direction

NFL Championship Weekend Predictions: History will be made in the NFC

Devin Booker is expanding his game beyond getting buckets

Greatest NFL Conference Championship moments ever

Top 10 X-factors for Conference Championship Games

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

15 underrated NBA players having tremendous seasons

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Nassar's victims put USA Gymnastics, MSU on trial

Top 25 times franchise players have changed scenes in MLB

The 'One of these things is not like the other' quiz

The best college hoops game to watch down the stretch

NHL Weekender: Kings, Leafs heading in the wrong direction

The 'Baby I'm a (All-)Star' quiz

Devin Booker is expanding his game beyond getting buckets

Ranking baseball's GMs entering the 2018 season

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: The Saints miss an important long-distance call

Johnny Gaudreau, Flames hope layoff won't cool them down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker