That’s better. Still not ideal, but the Braves finally got some hits and used them to finally get some runs and a comfortable win. Still, it was the Brewers with Rick Helling starting.
Helling actually wasn’t that bad. He gave up a run in the third on a two-out double by Marcus that scored Smoltz from first. In the fourth, the Brewers misplayed a long fly ball by Francoeur into a double, which came back to bite them when Helling walked Johnson and McCann back to back. When he walked Furcal leading off the fifth, he was pulled.
Meanwhile, Smoltz had a two-hitter going. Unfortunately, those hits were both homers, both coming after walks, so the Brewers led first 2-0, then 4-2. So the Brewers pen had a chance to win it. They didn’t.
Marcus doubled again, putting runners second and third. Chipper singled them home to tie it. Andruw and LaRoche grounded out, moving Chipper to third, and Francoeur put the Braves ahead with a single.
The game was still in doubt, especially after a leadoff double and a walk put the go-ahead runs on. But Smoltz found himself then, getting a popup, strikeout, and flyout to end the threat. With two out in the sixth, the Braves essentially ended the game, Andruw singling in Furcal and LaRoche finally getting a hit to score Chipper. They added another run in the seventh, Furcal scoring KJ. (As you can see, pretty much everybody got in on this.)
The Brewers only got one more hit, off of Reitsma in the eighth, who then, Kolblike, got a double play. Farnsworth pitched a perfect ninth in the non-save situation. Smoltz wound up throwing 111 pitches in seven innings, with just the three hits (all for extra bases) and three walks, eight strikeouts.
Every Braves starter got a hit, including Smoltz. Francoeur, Giles, and Chipper all had three. Everybody had a run except Andruw and Francoeur, and everybody had an RBI but Johnson and Smoltz. Johnson had two hits and two walks and is back up to .246 with an OBP around .350. I know he’s had his struggles, but I think the Braves are better when he’s in there because even if he’s not hitting he at least makes the other guys throw a lot of pitches.
The rest of the division lost except for the Marlins. The Phillies are 3 1/2 back, the Marlins 4, the Mets 6, the Natspos 6. Hudson versus Chris Capuano tomorrow on TBS. Presumably the Brewers have some other program planned, such as a salute to Bernie Brewer, so though it’s scheduled at 2:05 ET/1:05 CT it could start at any time.