I guess the Braves really wanted Marcus to extend his hit streak. So much so that they blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth and let the game go twelve innings before he could end the game with a two-out RBI single.
This game never should have got further than 8 1/2. Smoltz was dealing, and the Braves had a 3-0 lead after six. Francoeur doubled home LaRoche in the fifth to break the ice. Andruw then hit a two-run homer, his 36th to equal his career high, in the sixth.
Smoltz had allowed just two hits through seven, but got into trouble in the eighth, allowing a line double that Johnson should have caught, then two straight singles to make it 3-1 with the tying runners on, but got out of it. Then Andruw beat his career high with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning.
Now, Bobby can be excused for letting Smoltz start the ninth. But he let him go too far. I probably would have had Reitsma start the inning; let him get back on the horse with the easiest of save chances. But Smoltz wasn’t even at 100 pitches to start the inning, so Bobby probably figured why not give him the shot at the complete game.
But when he gave up a single leading off, he should have been pulled. Sure, it was on an 0-2 pitch, and it was a lame seeing-eye single, but you don’t let your starting pitcher even risk getting into trouble in the ninth when the game is at all close. Michael Tucker then doubled, second and third, nobody out. And Bobby left Smoltz in, still! He got a groundout, runner scored, other runner to third. And then allowed another single to make the game 4-3, tying runner on, and Bobby finally yanked him. Reitsma allowed a another weak single (other than the double, the hits were all pathetic) to make it first and third, and the score was then tied up on a grounder to the hole behind first that Marcus got a force at second on. Eventually, Reitsma got out of it, but the situation was far more difficult than it should have been.
Kolb pitched the tenth, and sparkled, groundout, strikeout, flyout. Boyer pitched the eleventh and twelfth, allowing the leadoff man to reach both times but pitching around that. The Braves, meanwhile, weren’t doing much, their one runner in the eleventh being erased on a double play groundout.
Betemit led off the twelfth with a walk. Ramirez’s pinch-bunt failed, and Furcal flew out. But KJ walked, and Marcus singled past short. Betemit just beat the throw, game over. Boyer gets his first career victory.
The Braves had just eight hits, three by LaRoche, but walked seven times… The Marlins won, the Astros lead the Natspos by three late, the Mets have a big early lead, and the Phillies trail by one in the third… Tomorrow’s game will be on TBS, Tim Hudson versus Jason Schmidt.