Heyward hits tape-measure homer vs. Nats
Minor runs into trouble in sixth inning, allowing four runs
VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Zimmerman drilled a a two-run, sixth-inning home run and Edwin Jackson produced a strong rebound effort while guiding the Nationals to a 6-3 win over the Braves at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Zimmerman's two-run shot over the right field wall accounted for one of four hits surrendered by Mike Minor, who had walked Danny Espinosa to open the sixth inning. The Nationals had not been able to capitalize after advancing a baserunner to second base in each of the three previous innings.
The Nationals added to their sixth-inning production once Minor concluded his outing by issuing a one-out walk to Adam LaRoche. Cory Gearrin issued a walk and allowed a single before Brett Carroll drilled a three-run triple to the right-center field gap. Carolll came around to score on the play after shortstop Jack Wilson's throw to the plate bounced and went to the backstop.
The only offense produced before the sixth inning came courtesy of Jason Heyward's monstrous leadoff homer in the fifth inning. Heyward drilled Jackson's 2-2 fastball over the 30-foot-high, center field wall to give the Braves an early one-run lead.
Heyward's fourth home run accounted for the only run Jackson surrendered while scattering two hits over six innings. The veteran right-hander had combined to allow 11 earned runs in his previous two starts.
Up next for the Braves: Jair Jurrjens and Randall Delgado will be looking to prove something when they start the opposite ends of Friday night's split-squad games against the Astros at 6:05 and 7:05 p.m. ET, respectively. Jurrjens will travel to Kissimmee to face a more talented Astros lineup than the one he limited to one run over six innings on Sunday. Delgado will attempt to solidify his bid to win the fifth spot in the rotation, as he faces the Astros' squad scheduled to play at Disney.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.