Atlanta Troy Glaus figures it was his turn for some late-game heroics.
Glaus hit a leadoff homer in the ninth inning, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Kansas City Royals, 5-4, on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.
“Once I got to two strikes, I tried to do anything I could to get on,” Glaus said. “It probably helped. It probably shortened up my swing a little bit to catch up to it.”
Brian McCann also homered for the Braves, who have won 13 of 14 at home to improve to 23-7 at Turner Field. Atlanta moved 11⁄2 games ahead of the second-place New York Mets in the NL East.
Glaus’ 14th homer came off Robinson Tejeda (2-3) and gave the Braves 13 victories in their final at-bat. Though Glaus leads the NL with 55 RBIs, Atlanta had yet to win on his last swing of the game.
“Every win is nice,” Glaus said. “You’d like to not save them ’til the ninth inning.”
Billy Wagner (5-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win.
Royals starter Zack Greinke fell behind 2-0 in the first. Chipper Jones hit an RBI single, moved to second on the throw and advanced to third on a passed ball. He scored on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt’s throwing error.
McCann’s seventh homer, a leadoff shot in the fourth, made it 3-0.
Kansas City cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth on Scott Podsednik’s sacrifice fly and Jason Kendall’s RBI groundout.
The Braves went ahead 4-2 in the sixth when Jason Heyward scored from second on Glaus’ grounder. Betancourt tried to begin a double play, but Jones, who was running from first, slid hard enough to knock second baseman Mike Aviles backward onto the ground.
Seeing Aviles was getting up slowly with the ball, Heyward dashed for the plate and scored with a headfirst slide.
“I saw Chip go in hard, and (Aviles) fell down,” Heyward said. “So that’s when I put my head down and ran.”
Greinke allowed six hits, four runs — three earned — and no walks in seven innings.
Ankiel suffers setback in rehab
Royals center fielder Rick Ankiel has had a setback during his minor-league rehab assignment and returned to Kansas City for treatment on his right quadriceps.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Ankiel, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 4, “tweaked his quad” at Triple-A Omaha this week. Ankiel went 2 for 5 with a double and a homer Monday and was hitting .278 in five games.
After signing a one-year, $3.25 million contract as a free agent, Ankiel has a .210 average in 19 games with the Royals. Kansas City went 5-11 with Ankiel in the lineup.
Yost indicated there is no timetable for the return of Ankiel, whose rehab assignment started June 8. The Royals had hoped Ankiel would be back in the lineup this weekend.