Easy win over the Phading Phillies. Actually, it was close until the fourth and still a game until the sixth. The Braves led 1-0 after the first, but left the bases loaded. Then they left two on in the second, after which the Phillies tied it up. They left one more on in the third, and I start to get nervous.
Kelly Johnson, however, has icewater in his veins. He wasn’t fazed by 1-30, and he wasn’t fazed by flying out with two on to end the second. The fourth started off the same as that inning; two easy outs, then Furcal and Orr reached. This time, KJ deposited it in the seats, the Braves led 4-1, and they cruised from there. Johnson wound up the game 2-3 with two walks.
Andruw hit a three-run homer of his own to more or less seal it in the sixth. That’s number 26 for him and start July off like most of June went. He also had a double and a walk. LaRoche, who singled in the first run of the game, added a two-run homer (scoring Johnson) in the ninth. Furcal had three hits and a walk and presumably is out of it, while Orr, starting for a gimpy Marcus, was 2-5. The rest of the lineup was hitless, but with the five guys at the top all having big games it didn’t matter.
Meanwhile, John Smoltz cruised again, pitching six innings, throwing 86 pitches, and striking out seven. He finished on a high note, retiring the last nine he faced, and striking out two in the sixth. The first tied Warren Spahn on the Braves’ all-time list, and the second passed him. The Braves’ apparent late-innings combination of Boyer, Brower, and Reitsma finished it, which I don’t really get. Boyer was already up and the lead was only three, and I guess Reitsma needed some work. They were all reasonably effective, each getting a strikeout (but Reitsma’s reached on a passed ball) and allowing but one hit (off Brower).
The Natspos won another one-run game. I don’t believe these guys, but sooner or later this will stop. Tomorrow is a Fox day game, Ramirez against Brett Myers, who killed the Braves earlier this year. No word on Estrada’s inevitable suspension yet, so I assume it won’t be until next week. The Braves will have to make a move to send down a pitcher when that happens.