I will sometimes be critical of an offense based upon singles, because you need three “events” to score anything with singles — hits, sacrifices, stolen bases, etc. But if you get eleven singles in four innings, you’ll score some runs. The Braves had fourteen singles in all, at least one by every regular. And for the first time, the Braves’ desired regular lineup was in play, as Ryan Church finally got back into the lineup, and was a key contributor.
In the first, McLouth singled, but was erased trying to steal. Hey, the guy hardly ever gets thrown out, you can’t blame him, but the Braves got two hits and a walk later in the inning, netting one run, but it might have been more. Anyway, ACHE singled in Chipper with the game’s first run. In the second, McLouth brought in LaRoche, and then Prado hit a sac fly to score Church, making it 3-0. Nothing in the third, but in the fourth they put together five singles and a sacrifice by the pitcher before ACHE lined into a double play, scoring three runs and building a comfortable lead.
Tommy Hanson had a little trouble in the first, but a caught stealing and a GIDP got him out of it. For the next three innings, he was outstanding, striking out five and allowing only one baserunner, on a walk, and who was erased on a double play. He allowed a leadoff triple in the fifth, but Church threw out the runner trying to score on a flyout. In the sixth, Hanson finally broke, allowing a two-run homer to, who else, new Braveskiller Will Venable. (Venable finished the series 6-10 with two walks, two homers, four runs scored and two RBI, and went from hitting .236/.300/.400 to hitting .267/.333/.467. Heaven help us if the Phillies get ahold of him.) So, bullpen time. Moylan, Gonzalez, and Soriano each allowed one baserunner, but no real threats.
McLouth and Chipper each had three hits. Church had two and a walk. I don’t think you’re going to get very far with a singles-based offense — two games over .500 is where it’s gotten the Braves — but it worked today. Hit some homers in LA, guys, the Dodgers aren’t the Padres.