You know, for a supposedly dominant reliever, Eric Gagne doesn’t look too good when he’s taken out of his little save-situation niche. The Braves, not for the first time, beat Gagne after the latter came into a tie game, Adam LaRoche singling in pinch-runner Nick Green to give the Braves the lead, and three Dodger outs later the win. John Smoltz, unlike Gagne, was perfect, and now holds the Braves’ career save record.
Estrada had a big offensive game, going 4-4 with a homer, three RBI. Green ran for him, so Estrada should get some sort of credit for the winning run… Chipper walked three times, Furcal had a two-hit night.
The Braves led 5-1 after four and 5-3 after seven. But Reitsma gave up back-to-back homers leading off the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. It wouldn’t be good if Reitsma (the vulture winner) relapsed into the form that had me calling for his head a few weeks ago.
Russ Ortiz pitched 6 1/3 decent innings and deserved the win. He had some control problems, walking three, and gave up two homers, but was able to pitch around difficulty. The Braves dodged a Martin/Gryboski pairing to finish the seventh, after the two came in with two on and one out but managed to each pick up a strikeout.
The Braves are now a single game behind the Dodgers for the second-best record in the league. Right now, the teams are racing for home field in a likely first-round playoff matchup… The Marlins were off; the Mets did indeed pull into a third-place tie with the Phillies… John Thomson versus the seemingly immortal Jose Lima tonight.