The Braves rode a seven-run sixth inning — their best inning of the year — to a victory that would have been easy except for yet more horrifying pitching by Dan Kolb, and Blaine Boyer leaving the game with what appeared to be a muscle problem.
Kyle Davies started off awful, walking two of the first three men he faced, then allowing a three-run homer. But after that, he was terrific, allowing only one more hit and one more walk, and striking out eight. He needed 112 pitches to get through six, as he still can’t work efficiently, but he’s pitching better.
Jeff Francoeur had cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth with a two-run homer, but the Braves had left baserunners in three of the first five innings, and even though they were hitting the ball hard weren’t seeing a lot of results.
Then in the sixth, they got six straight baserunners to start off the inning. A fluke single by Andruw, a walk by Julio (who earlier in the game had his 2500th hit), and then Francoeur doubled them both home to take the lead. Estrada doubled him home, then Johnson doubled him home, and Betemit pinch-hit singled to make it first and third. They finally got an out — as Furcal hit a fly ball to the track to advance both runners. Marcus tripled him in, then Chipper’s sac fly put the cap on the inning, Braves 9-3.
No lead is safe from The Kolb! Blaine Boyer came in for Davies in the seventh and struck out the side. He got the first man in the eighth, then allowed an infield single. He started pitching to the next man, then was pulled with some sort of injury. Enter The Kolb! He ingeniously walked the first man he faced, knowing in his tiny little mind that the walk would be charged to Boyer, then really got to work, allowing two singles and an infield grounder to get the game to 9-6. Two runs charged to Boyer, who looked great, and one to Kolb, who sucks and everyone knows it. Reitsma pitched a perfect ninth for an easy save.
Everyone in the starting lineup but Davies had at least one hit. Furcal, Giles, Francoeur, and Julio all had two… The Mets lost, the Phillies are winning. The Braves now lead the division by five, 5 1/2 over the Marlins, 8 on the Mets; the Phillies are six out pending their game… Tomorrow’s game, the third of a four-game series (I was thrown off by the monthly schedule and the stupid wrap-around series features Smoltz against Josh Fogg and will be on TBS. Trading deadline is tomorrow afternoon. I’m sure Scheurholz is looking for a reliever if nothing else.