Where would the Braves be without Chris Reitsma? Reitsma, who allowed three runs in the eighth Monday to let the Braves tie the game, hung a changeup to Chipper leading off the tenth last night. Chipper deposited it in the right field seats to end the game.
The Reds scored runs in the first and third off of Shane Reynolds, who was lucky to keep it close. The first run was a bases-loaded, no-out walk, but he got a popup and double play. After the third, he settled down, and the Braves shut the Reds down — no hits — the rest of the way.
However, the offense was dysfunctional all night. Vinny had a leadoff homer in the third, but the Braves left runners at second and third to end the inning. Reynolds had to drive in a run in the next inning with a single, but Vinny overran third base on Furcal’s infield single to load the bases and was thrown out. And so on. The Braves stranded single runners in the fifth and sixth, two in the seventh, one in the ninth, and couldn’t get a run across. Sheffield was 0-5, but every other Brave starter — and Mark DeRosa, who came in when Marcus Giles left the game after being hit by a pitch — had at least one hit. They just couldn’t get them in bunches.
Trey Hodges picked up the win after escaping from a jam (error, walk, HBP) in the tenth. Bobby once again used Smoltz to pitch the ninth and only the ninth instead of double-switching to allow his best pitcher to get two innings. Boom-Boom Bobby Hernandez did not make an appearance.
Giles, who was hit on the elbow, is day-to-day, but who isn’t? Andruw has a 34-game on-base streak going and collected his 999th career hit last night. He goes for 35 and 1000 tonight against Royals reject Jeff Austin, who has a 7.16 ERA. You would think that the Braves would pound him, but they couldn’t hit Jimmy Haynes last night and Haynes is 0-4 with a 10.72 ERA. Russ Ortiz goes for the Braves.