After the exorcism, one thing that the Braves seem newly able to do is pile on some runs. Not that Hibernation Mode is necessarily entirely a thing of the past, but they’re getting some late runs against the opposing bullpens more regularly, and getting some comfortable wins.
It did not look comfortable in the first five innings. The Braves got a run in the first when McCann doubled home McLouth with two out (after an obvious balk with runners first and third went uncalled, allowing the pitcher to pick off Yunel) but they blew several other chances to get runs in, including twice stranding runners who got to third with one out. But in the sixth, they broke through with four runs, three of them coming on a long homer by Kotchman. (He doesn’t hit many, but when they go out, they go way out.)
They needed the runs. Lowe, who had sailed through the first five, lost it, and was very lucky to give up only two runs in the sixth. McLouth made a couple of run-saving catches that weren’t really great plays, but were certainly on balls that were hit hard. He wound up striking out three and walking none, with four of the nine hits he allowed in the sixth.
McCann hit a solo homer in the seventh to make it 6-2, and they got two runs out of a bases-loaded situation in the eighth even though Bobby — with Chipper on the bench taking a routine off day — sent up the utterly useless Norton to pinch-hit with runners second and third none out, and Norton predictably struck out. McLouth was walked to load the bases, and Prado — who is scuffling a little bit — hit a line drive that the centerfielder dropped, scored a sac fly and an error to keep the bases loaded. Escobar walked to make it 8-2, but they finally got McCann (who had two doubles and a homer, plus a walk, on the day) on a double play to end the inning. Kelly Johnson, getting the start at second, capped the scoring with a two-run homer in the seventh. Like McCann, KJ had two doubles, a homer, and a walk on the day.
Gonzales worked the seventh with no problems, and Moylan needed only nine pitches, even with a strikeout, to get the heart of the order in the eighth. Medlen finished up in the ninth, allowing one hit. On to Florida. Big series.