With the two teams combining for nine home runs, this was certainly not a comfortable setting for pitchers. Fortunately for the Braves, the power they generated against Phil Hughes proved more costly than the fact that Tommy Hanson allowed four home runs for the third time in his career.
"The ball was flying today, there's no doubt about it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's unfortunate they had some two-run homers, some three-run homers. They swung the bats well."
With Freeman, Heyward, Ross and Martin Prado all going deep, the Braves totaled a season-high five home runs and won a second straight game for the first time since June 9. Their confidence should be boosted by the series victory over the Yankees, who had entered Tuesday with a 10-game winning streak.
The Braves entered Tuesday having won just one of their previous eight games. The Yankees accounted for four of the seven losses incurred during that span.
Less than 24 hours after producing a game-winning single and making a game-saving throw, Heyward matched the two-homer performance he produced in a June 7 win at Miami. The 22-year-old right fielder hit a fourth-inning solo homer off Hughes and then gave the Braves some insurance runs courtesy of his two-run, eighth-inning shot off Boone Logan.
"[The ballpark] is small to the corners, but give us some credit," Heyward said. "We swung the bats really well today. They hit the ball just as well a couple times. It's just that kind of ballpark. But you've also got two teams capable of hitting a lot of home runs."
After gaining a 6-1 lead with Ross' fifth-inning solo homer, the Braves endured some seventh-inning stress. Chad Durbin walked two of the first three batters he faced in the frame and allowed the Yankees to cut their deficit to one run with Curtis Granderson's RBI single. But after allowing a run for the first time since May 7, Durbin got Alex Rodriguez to ground into an inning-ending double play.
It did not take the Braves long to extend their lead back to four runs. Prado opened the eighth inning with a double and scored on Freeman's sharp RBI groundout. Heyward then followed with his 10th home run of the season. The Braves right fielder had entered this series finale without a home run since his two-homer performance against the Marlins.
"I told [Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez] later on, 'I don't know if I my heart can take many more of these innings,'" Ross said. "Thank goodness Jason Heyward and Martin Prado came up big getting those insurance runs."
The Braves' offense started rolling during a three-run first-inning, which was fueled by the two-out RBI single that Dan Uggla laced to left field. Freeman followed with a two-run homer that sailed over the center-field wall. The 22-year-old first baseman has struggled while battling vision problems in May and a sore left index finger the past few weeks.
Count Hanson among those who have benefited since Freeman returned to the lineup on Tuesday after a five-game absence. The Braves' big right-hander allowed a leadoff homer to Derek Jeter in the first inning, but then settled into a groove. But the heat may have started to take a toll in the fifth inning, when he allowed a leadoff homer to Eric Chavez before recording consecutive strikeouts of Jeter and Granderson.
Hanson was removed after Rodriguez and Robinson Cano opened the bottom of the sixth with consecutive home runs. The last time the 25-year-old hurler allowed four home runs in a game was Aug. 6, which stood as his last start before right shoulder discomfort ended his season last year.
"There were some balls hit pretty good today, and we survived," Gonzalez said.