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Thursday, August 22nd (All times Eastern)

Atlanta Braves (77-49) at St. Louis Cardinals (73-53), 8:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Paul Maholm (9-9, 4.41) St. Louis - Joe Kelly (4-3, 3.01)

(Sports Network) - With the Atlanta Braves owning a 15-game lead atop the NL East, the last thing the club wanted was to lose a key player for an extended period of time.

The Braves, though, will be without Jason Heyward for perhaps the rest of the regular season. They'll try to shake off that blow on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Heyward is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks after suffering a fractured jaw in Wednesday's 4-1 win over the New York Mets. He was hit by a pitch from the Mets' Jon Niese in the sixth inning, falling to the ground before getting assisted by manager Fredi Gonzalez and trainer Jeff Porter.

Heyward did walk off the field with help from Porter and was taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

"He never lost consciousness," Gonzalez said. "He was talking the whole time when he got hit with the ball. Before they took him to the hospital, he popped his head into the dugout and said 'bye' to some of the guys."

The left-hander, scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday, was hitting .345 since moving into the leadoff spot on July 28. In 95 games this year, Heyward was hitting .253 with 13 homers and 37 RBI, having also missed time after undergoing an emergency appendectomy in late April.

It was the latest blow for the Braves, who saw outfielder Justin Upton sit out a second straight game due to an upper back strain. He is hopeful to play in this opener and is hitting .333 with eight homers and 23 RBI over his last 32 games.

Atlanta is also without second baseman Dan Uggla, who is on the disabled list after undergoing Lasik surgery to correct his vision.

But as one player exits, another returns for the Braves. Left-hander Paul Maholm is slated to make his first start in just over a month after being sidelined with a bruised left wrist.

Maholm suffered the injury on July 10 at Miami and it forced him out of a start at the Chicago White Sox on July 20 after just three innings. The 31- year-old lost his final three appearances before going on the DL and allowed just one run on four hits and zero walks in a rehab start on Saturday night with Class-A Rome.

"It's been a month. Like I said early on, I'm not a very good DL patient," Maholm told Atlanta's website. "I'm just looking forward to just getting back in there and competing, and obviously we've been playing well. So obviously it's been fun to watch, but it's going to be better to be a part of it."

Maholm is 9-9 with a 4.41 earned run average in 20 starts this year and 4-7 lifetime versus the Cardinals with a 4.06 ERA in 18 meetings.

He'll look to slow down contending St. Louis, which has won four of five and trails Pittsburgh by a game for first place in the NL Central. The Cards took the rubber match of a three-game set with Milwaukee on Wednesday, 8-6.

Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday all homered.

"That was a big win," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "That team kept coming, and fortunately we kept doing what we needed to do and got enough room. That was a tough game."

Joe Kelly gets the call for Matheny's club tonight and has been a huge spark since joining the rotation on July 6. He is 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in seven starts and picked up a victory at the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, hurling six scoreless innings of four-hit ball with three walks and six strikeouts.

The 25-year-old righty is 4-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 29 games this year, including eight starts, and has not lost since June 5.

"When he goes out there with that kind of confidence, it just transfers over to everybody else. And he's getting better," Matheny said of Kelly.

Kelly faced the Braves for the first time in his career on July 27 with a start in Atlanta. He scattered seven hits and three walks over 6 1/3 scoreless frames, but did not factor into a 2-0 loss.

The Braves swept that three-game set and have won eight of the past nine meetings overall.

08/22 10:33:29 ET

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 56
TEMPL 70
Final
NCCU 69
NCAT 58
 
Final
DET 4
ATL 6
 
Final
TAM 2
BAL 3
 
Final
PIT 1
NYY 2
 
Final
HOU 6
PHI 3
 
Final
MIA 1
STL 4
 
Final
SFG 8
CHC 6
 
Final
CIN 3
CLE 9
 
Final
CWS 1
LOS 6
 
Final
ANA 3
MIL 2
 
Final
CHC 2
OAK 2
 
Final
SEA 9
SDP 4
 
Final
KAN 5
TEX 4
 
Final
ARI 4
COL 3
 
Final
WAS 5
NYM 4
 
Final
MIN 9
BOS 8
 
Final
BAL 5
TOR 0
 
Final
CHI 108
OKC 105
2nd
POR 28
DAL 29
 
Final
MDES 89
MRGST 76
 
Final
SIENA 71
NIAG 54
Final
LEH 62
AMER 68
 
Final
SCAR 74
ARK 78
Final
LAF 89
BU 64
 
Final
PETE 63
FAIR 33
Final
BUCK 90
HC 83
 
Final
UNF 71
LIP 57
 
Final
TENNM 65
MORE 76
Final
COL 72
NAVY 62
 
Final
ECU 56
TEMPL 70
Final
FATL 62
UAB 59
 
Final
FLGC 62
USCU 63
 
Final
CHAR 84
WKENT 88
 
Final
MINN 63
WISC 76
Final
MIZST 48
SILL 55
Final
COPST 92
DELST 104
 
Final
FIU 59
MTST 54
Final
HAMP 69
NORST 80
 
Final
NCCU 69
NCAT 58
 
Final
COOK 72
SCST 62
 
Final
APP 67
TXST 64
 
Final
GSOUT 76
TXARL 64
 
Final
LAMON 50
UGST 58
 
Final
ODU 67
MARS 50
Final
TXSA 74
RICE 76
 
Final
FAM 64
SAV 57
 
Final
LATU 72
SMISS 61
 
Final
JST 72
ALAAM 54
 
Final
GRAM 46
ALAST 70
 
Final
TXSOU 94
ALCOR 73
 
Final
NICST 77
CARK 70
 
Final
TAMCC 85
HOUB 72
 
Final
NARZ 58
PORST 51
 
Final
LAM 61
SHSU 67
 
Final
ARKST 76
SALA 81
 
Final
PVU 73
SOUTH 77
 
Final
LALAF 75
ARKLR 69
 
Final
NO 85
SELA 79
 
Final
INCWORD 64
ABCHRIST 52
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU 0
ARKPB 0
 
Final
ARZ 99
CAL 60
 
Final
WASH 47
COL 64
 
Final
WEBER 74
IDAHO 63
 
Final
UCONN 53
MEM 54
 
Final
UTEP 83
UNT 60
 
Final
STEPH 92
NWST 66
 
Final
SUTAH 69
SACST 65
 
Final
DAVID 82
VCU 55
 
Final
IDST 81
EWASH 85
 
Final
QUIN 74
MAR 80
 
Final
BEL 97
EILL 64
2nd
DRAK 43
BRAD 43
 
2nd
LBSU 39
CSNO 31
 
2nd
UCI 40
CSFU 31
 
2nd
UCD 35
UCR 43
 
1st
ARST 3
STAN 4
 
1st
WASU 11
UTAH 4
 
Final
BOS 3
CAL 4
Final
WAS 1
MIN 2
Final
PHI 3
STL 1
Final
FLA 3
DAL 4
Final
TAM 4
TOR 2
Final
NAS 3
NYI 4
3rd
ARI 2
VAN 1
 
1st Intermission
LOS 2
MON 0