When in doubt, take the out.
The Braves led 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth. By the end of the inning, it was 9-2 Giants. There was bad pitching, bad defense, and the presence of Antonio Alfonseca (Juan Cruz now doesn’t even get to pitch when the starter is knocked out early) to explain much of this. But the other problem — the big problem in my opinion — was Braves defenders trying to do too much and winding up costing the Braves a chance to win the game.
The Giants had runners on second and third, none out, when A.J. Pierzynski hit a sharp comebacker to Russ Ortiz. Rather than looking the runner back and throwing to first, Ortiz tried to get the runner at third, even though he hadn’t strayed that far from the bag. The runner, of course, was safe, there was no chance to get Pierzynski, and the Giants had the bases loaded. Ortiz would get only one more out, and that on a bunt.
Then, with one out, the bases loaded, and Base12 pitching in his inimitable way, Mike Hessman (who had come into the game on a double switch) tried to turn the 3-6-3 double play. That’s a difficult play for an experienced first baseman, and Hessman is a novice, and righthanded to boot. He threw the ball into left field.
Though we can’t be sure of how things would have developed, at least four runs can be blamed on these two mental errors in combination. And the Braves lost by three runs. I rest my case.
The Braves had a good offensive game, at least, with twelve hits. DeRosa, who really does seem more effective in the 2 spot, had three hits, two of them doubles. Marcus Giles had another hit, and has at least one in every game this year except the one in which he was ejected. Hessman also doubled, his first hit this season. Damon Hollins made it to the game but didn’t get a hit as a pinch-hitter.
Will Cunnane and CJ Nitkowski were effective, or at least didn’t allow any runs, after Alfonseca finally left having put the game away for the Giants… The Braves finally have an off day, then play at Colorado to finish the road trip. They’re 4-5 on it so far. The Marlins are back to three games up on the Braves, and the Phillies have crept to only one more game back.