Gosh, I guess this is exciting. I’d be more excited if it wasn’t the flipping Marlins.
Willis outpitched Hudson, but both were strong, and Hudson probably deserved better than to leave after six trailing 2-1. He struck out ten and walked but two, but had some pretty poor defense played behind him and not much offense either. One run came in the first after a leadoff double; the other came in the fifth because Renteria apparently can’t bend at the waist and let an easy ground ball go through after Hudson walked Willis leading off.
But in the bottom of the inning, Matt Diaz hit his first homer as a Brave to cut it to 2-1. There it stayed, because every time the Marlins made a sloppy play they’d make a great play to get out of it — Willis saved at least two runs with his own glove.
Ray, Villareal, and Reitsma kept the Marlins off the board, but the Braves still couldn’t get a run in — until Francoeur hit another big homer, this one a solo shot to tie it.
McBride mowed them down in the tenth, but got in trouble in the eleventh, because he is a one-inning pitcher. He could have gotten out of it, but didn’t hustle to first base (where have we seen that before) to cover on a potential double play to end the inning and the Marlins took the lead.
But Chipper, after falling behind 0-2, drew a walk leading off the bottom of the inning. Then Andruw hit a ball that was maybe ten feet high but so hard it rolled to the wall, and Chipper scored all the way from first. Francoeur got him to third, LaRoche was intentionally walked (!) and Diaz was the hero, singling Andruw home.
The real problem is that this is the Marlins and you really shouldn’t have to work so hard to beat them.
Again, if you’re not aware, the link at Bravesbeat.com/Braves.net isn’t up right now. You need to come directly to Braves Journal, which is either bravesjournal.us or bravesbeat.com/bravesjournal.