Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By JAY CLEMONS  |  Last updated 9/26/13
ATLANTA Here are three things we learned from the Braves' 7-1 victory over the Phillies, before a hearty Turner Field crowd of 27,858. 1. The Braves and Cardinals are all square in the race for the National League's best record sort of After 159 games ... it has come down to this. With Atlanta and St. Louis deadlocked at 94-65, we still don't know which powerhouse will possess home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. Heck, we don't even know if the Cardinals will end up as the NL Central champion ... although it would take a mini-collapse from St. Louis against the Cubs (Friday-Sunday) and subsequent weekend sweep from Pittsburgh (against Cincinnati) to boot the Cards into the wild-card round. But amidst the Atlanta-St. Louis uncertainty, the Braves can relish in owning the tiebreaker over the Cardinals, the result of taking the season series, 4-3. The tie-breaking "clincher" occurred on Aug. 25, when Mike Minor helped the Braves avoid a four-game sweep in St. Louis. But that seemingly random Sunday looms large for Atlanta now, in the event of a year-ending tie. So, the plan is pretty simple for the Braves: Take the FridaySaturdaySunday games from the playing-out-the-string Phillies (72-87) ... and they'll enjoy the majority of playoff games at Turner Field, leading up to the World Series. Friday: Kris Medlen (14-12, 3.24 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.93 ERA) Saturday: Mike Minor (13-8, 3.22 ERA) vs. TBD Sunday: Julio Teheran (13-8, 3.09 ERA) vs. Zach Miner (0-1, 3.08 ERA) 2. Jason Heyward picked the perfect time to enjoy a career-defining night On Thursday, Heyward notched the first five-hit game of his burgeoning career, the result of one homer, three doubles and a full-bore infield single in the seventh inning. On a secondary, but hardly trivial note, this night also marked Heyward's first career game of four extra-base hits and fifth career outing of four or more hits. Not bad for a guy who was an iffy proposition to return by late September ... after breaking his jaw back in mid-August. "My aggressiveness is coming back, swing-wise, (in terms of) attacking the ball," Heyward said in the post-game media scrum. "I'm just trying to get good pitches to hit, square 'em up." Heyward's supreme night began with a first-pitch, leadoff homer against Philly's Tyler Cloyd. That blast fueled a five-run spurt in the 1st, highlighted by Elliott Johnson's single (and subsequent steal), Freddie Freeman's RBI double, Evan Gattis's RBI single, Chris Johnson's RBI double and Jordan Schafer's RBI single. An inning later, Heyward led off with a double. After that, more Braves carnage ensued, with Johnson and Freeman (two hits, one RBI) walking and Gattis (one run, two hits, three RBI) belting a two-run double to left a shot-out-of-a-cannon blow that prompted Johnson (one hit, two runs), running right away, to score just milliseconds after Heyward had crossed the plate. In a flash, Atlanta held a 7-1 lead. For the third and fifth innings, Heyward doubled to right and center, respectively; and in the 7th came the aforementioned hustle-play single, clinching his momentous feat. "It's good to get hits, it's good to get on base with this lineup, and score runs early," said Heyward, who raised his September batting average from .133 to .350 in a single night. "We're still playing for something; for me, it's good to have time to get hits, time to execute. That's what it's all about."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

Hernandez's prison calls to Pouncey could come up in trial

Josh Hamilton experiences pain in reconstructed knee, leaves camp

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

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