Jason Heyward’s grand slam could spark another Braves turnaround: A fan’s take

It may be reaching to believe one swing of the bat can turn around a whole lackluster season, but if that's possible then Jason Heyward's(notes) grand slam Tuesday night against the Cubs is the hit that could do it.

Jason Heyward's bat has suddenly come to life.
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Heyward got three hits in the Atlanta Braves' 5-4 win, and the big blow was a monster grand slam in the fourth inning. It was the first grand slam for the second-year player and a very welcome sign in what has been a strangely disappointing season of sophomore slumping.

If Dan Uggla(notes) can totally turn his season around, why not Heyward?

Heyward went 3-for-4 and his homer was to the opposite field, something he has been working on in the batting cage with hitting coach Lance Parrish and Braves All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones(notes).

"I wasn't exactly sure when it was going to show up, but tonight's definitely a good start for that," Heyward told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The breakout game was a welcome sight for us Braves fans. While the Braves offense has experienced a jump-start since the All-Star break, Heyward had yet to be a big part of it. In fact, his hitting in the low .200s had him benched, playing behind out-of-nowhere sensation Jose Constanza(notes).

Heyward handled his demotion like a pro, biding his time. Constanza sprained an ankle in the Cubs series opener, and suddenly Jason was back in the lineup.

He certainly made the most of it with his game-winning performance against Chicago.

"It's not easy when you're not playing every day," Heyward said. "But I understand the situation we have at hand. I want to win games."

Heyward had a terrific rookie season last year, batting .277 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs. This year, Jason is hitting .224 with 13 home runs and only 35 RBIs.

But if Tuesday's game is any indication that can change in a hurry. There certainly is precedent on the team. Second baseman Dan Uggla had a terrible first half but is now one of the hottest sluggers in baseball and is on a tear that has him at 30 home runs already for the season.

If Jason Heyward gets going as well, the Braves offense might be putting up even bigger numbers down the stretch drive, just when they need Heyward the most.

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Updated Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011