Yes, it’s a one run win! I know!
It was one they had to scratch for. They fell behind 2-0 in the first, with sloppy defense and sloppy pitching pretty much equal contributors — Teixeira made an error allowing the leadoff man to reach, and Kotsay pulled a two-base Prado bringing in two runs, but Joseph Reyes certainly wasn’t sharp. The Braves got a run on a Teixeira single in the bottom of the inning, but were shut out for the next three by Fredo Ledezma, a pitcher whom Braves fans were so happy to get rid of last year that we offered to buy him a ticket to San Diego if it would get him out of town faster. The Braves did load the bases on walks in the third, but Francoeur struck out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Reyes had to leave in the third when a blister on his pitching hand popped. Buddy Carlyle relieved him and did a pretty good job, but Teixeira pulled a two-base Prado of his own in the fifth (seriously, he dove the wrong way on a hard grounder, and the announcers never pointed this out) and then got hurt in a collision with a hitter on the first base-line. Campillo had to relieve him, and he screwed up, allowing a runner to score on an infield single, then allowing a double to score his own man to make it 4-1. By the way, both Carlyle and Campillo had to lead off the inning after their emergency relief appearances, but Carlyle drew a walk.
The Braves did rally in the sixth, getting two runs on a bases-loaded pinch single from new folk hero Greg Norton. In the seventh, it looked like Escobar would be stranded after getting to second on a leadoff error (I thought it should have been scored hit/error, but I think I’ve said enough about the official scoring in this series already), but a two-out wild pitch (which Smitty called for) scored him and tied the game.
Finally, in the ninth, Bud Black went with Joe Thatcher, the lefty reliever who had looked awful for the Padres last night, and did again today. Escobar led off with a bunt single. Chipper, hitless to that point, followed with a single. Teixeira hit a chopper to advance the runners. And Black, who just wants to get fired at this point, walked Francoeur, who over the last few days has looked completely lost at the plate, to face another righthanded batter, Matt Diaz, who is hitting over .400 against lefties. Diaz worked the count, lined a single to left, and the Braves finally had a one run victory.
Phil Collins has a request:
I’m going to say no to that.