Atlanta 4 Pittsburgh 2

ESPN.com – MLB – MLB RECAP

Great day. It rained during the first inning and the game was delayed, and Jaret Wright was limited to five innings, in which he gave up two runs on five hits and a walk (six strikeouts). But the offense came back twice from a run down, taking the lead in the fifth, all against Kris Benson. Four relievers pitched a shutout inning each. And the Phillies lost.

Down 1-0 after the first, Andruw doubled home Estrada (all the way from first!), and down 2-1 in the fourth LaRoche doubled home Chipper. In the fifth, the Braves put together a little rally, Chipper giving them the lead with a sac fly and Estrada doubling home the fourth run.

Then the pen took over. Alfonseca got the Pirates in order. Gryboski allowed a two-out walk but that was all. Reitsma gave up a two-out single, but that was all. And Smoltz got them 1-2-3, striking out the last two. Final bullpen line: four innings, one hit, one walk, six strikeouts. Keep that up and the Braves will be in great shape.

The Phillies lost, as I said. The Mets are losing in spectacular fashion, 19-8, to the Expos. If that holds up, they’ll be six out; not dead, but not at all well. The Braves lead the division by 1 1/2, their biggest lead of the year. They’re eight games over .500, for the first time. They’re a game behind the Giants and Padres; with a good couple of days the rest of the division would be closer to the wildcard than the division lead.

6 thoughts on “Atlanta 4 Pittsburgh 2”

  1. Just want to recognize Pete and Don for their fine work tonight. I take the Braves’ announcers for granted most of the time, but tonight I was struck by their analysis and humor.

    The bit about first-pitch strikes was very illuminating. For those w/o Turner South, the Braves feature three of the top four NL pitchers in terms of first-pitch strike percentage (top four are Smoltz, Gagne, Byrd, and Reitsma). Pete mentioned that the first thing Mazzone asks a new pitcher is what pitch he can throw consistently for strike one. It was a nice insight into the Mazzone method.

    Also, their banter about the “mood ring” billboard cracked me up. Any time Pete or Skip reference the old WTCG days is a trip down memory lane for me. (A local arts council sponsors the billboard, which tonight featured gentle swaths of blue light {with no advertising message}…Don compared it to a mood ring, and Pete recalled that old Channel 17 used to advertise mood rings)

    Good game tonight, of the type the Braves once specialized in–good starting pitching, a shutdown bullpen, and enough runs to win most of that type of game. Anyone else shocked at the swing Andruw put on that two-strike curveball? I honestly can’t remember the last time he waited on an outside pitch quite so well….

  2. All is well in the land of the free and the home of the Braves. They cannot be stopped!

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention either Drew’s or Andruw’s hitting streaks, which are now at 22 and 9 games, respectively. Andruw’s batting average is slowly climbing; it’s now up to .260! Chipper appears to be coming around as well. And after a rough month for Estrada, it’s good to see him get a couple of hits.

  3. Don’t forget about LaRoche. He’s hitting at .300 since the beginning of July. Wright has been unstoppable. He is probably pitching better than any point in his career.

    It’s incredible the turnaround the Braves have had. To think it started while Giles was out and Chipper was struggling to get over his hamstring injury. It’s shows how well this team can ovecome the loss of some big players and handle adversity. Whether they go far in the playoffs or not will not be the true measure of this season, it’s outlasting 3 teams that were favored over them. I’m sure they will settle for nothing less than a World Series win, but as a fan it is exciting to see them playing good baseball with the changes in personnel.

  4. Wright has been unstoppable. He is probably pitching better than any point in his career.

    You have to give Bobby and Leo credit. Before the season almost everyone (including me) was saying what a terrible idea it was to put Wright in the rotation. He’ll get hurt, he’ll suck, we have better internal options, etc. It turns out – as is so often the case – that Bobby and Leo saw something no one else did. Wright is a solid number two starter now and his consistency is a welcome break from the Thomson-Hampton-Byrd world of combustability.

    If turning Wright’s career around doesn’t get Leo into the Hall of Fame nothing will. The guy was released by the pitching desperate Padres with a 8.37 ERA before Leo got his hands on him.

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