Mississippi played again Wednesday afternoon without top minor league prospect Jason Heyward, but the Braves spread the wealth in stinging Chattanooga 7-3 at AT&T Field.
Matt Young, Willie Cabrera, Greg Creek, Kody Kirkland and Benji Johnson had two hits apiece for the Braves, who pounded Lookouts relief pitcher Jesus Rodriguez for four runs in the eighth inning. The loss dropped Chattanooga to 31-29 with 10 games remaining in the Southern League regular season and two games behind West Tenn (33-27) in the North Division.
The Lookouts are off today before starting a five-game series Friday night in Jacksonville.
"There is no more losing," Lookouts third baseman Russ Mitchell said. "We have to win out."
Heyward will have his bruised heel evaluated Friday, and any concern by Atlanta officials could result in Chattanooga being the final stop of his sensational season. The 20-year-old played in right field Saturday and Sunday at AT&T, but his only appearance after that was a pinch-hit role Tuesday.
The Braves (29-29) also are off today.
"Being that he's going to the Arizona Fall League, I don't think we see any reason to sit him for seven and then play him for the last five, because if he reinjures it, we're back to square one," Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman said. "If the medical staff deems that he's good, then he'll probably be back in there at some point in time, but until then we're going day-to-day. Those who saw him play understand what all the hoopla is about, but his health is more important.
"Not to sound like we don't care, but he's got bigger things on his plate than to help us win a Double-A ballgame right now. In a couple of years, no one will even remember he didn't play in these games."
Heyward said he felt fine as he walked off the field but added, "At this point of the season, there's no need to push or anything like that."
The Braves arrived Saturday with two of Baseball America's top 12 midseason prospects. First baseman Freddie Freeman, No. 11 on the list, played Saturday, went on the disabled list Monday with a sore wrist and had the wrist put in a brace Tuesday in Atlanta.
Wellman expects Freeman to sit out these final 10 games to be fresh for his autumn in Arizona.
Mitchell continued his torrid stretch with a two-run home run to left field in the sixth inning to give Chattanooga its lone lead at 3-2, but the Braves tied it in the seventh on a Johnson homer to left. Cabrera hit a two-run homer to left-center in the eighth that proved to be the difference, and Johnson provided insurance with a double off the center-field wall that scored Creek and Kirkland.
Mississippi pounded out 14 hits. Half were at the expense of Rodriguez, who failed to last two innings.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...