If Wes Helms (starting against a lefty) has four hits, and comes up just the triple short of the cycle, you know the Braves are having a good day. They had a great day, actually, arguably their best of the season, scoring six runs in the first en route to a 10-0 win. In addition to Helms’ best game as a major leaguer, Damian Moss had perhaps his best, going seven innings and giving up only one hit. Perhaps more impressively, he had only three walks and needed only 96 pitches (58 strikes) to do it. He might have been able to go at least one more inning, but the Braves were so comfortable they let Albie Lopez go two innings with a ten-run lead rather than his customary one. He walked two, but kept the one-hitter intact.
Every Brave starter reached base; all but Chipper and Vinny had hits. Andruw had two, including a homer, and really does seem to be recovering his batting eye and stroke, even with two more strikeouts. Henry Blanco also homered, the big blow in the first inning; he’s hitting .194 for the season now, which is hardly what you want from your backup catcher, much less a starter. Javy Lopez might be back Friday, but if he isn’t the Braves will probably disable him and call up Steve Torrealba, who is on call in Richmond.
Seven of the Braves’ runs were scored with two out, by the way, including five in the six-run first. Gary Sheffield’s streak continues, with two hits today before giving way to Darren Bragg, probably just to get some rest… If anyone still cares, the Mets play the Expos tonight. New York is 13 out and Montreal 16 out, and under .500 after a five-game losing streak. The Mets’ best play of the year has done them little good. They’ve won eight of ten, and made up no ground, though the collapses in Montreal and Florida have at least gotten them into second, and nobody in the West is playing well so they’ve also gotten into the wildcard race — they’re fourth, four and a half behind the Dodgers.
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