Even PURE EVIL is no match for the powers of Brooks Conrad, folk hero extraordinaire. Conrad’s second pinch-hit homer of the year was only the biggest blow of an eight-run eighth inning that flipped the game around as, once again, the Marlins’ bullpen and infield defense imploded.
The Braves opened the game with a 1-0 lead as The Prado hit another leadoff homer. It’s getting to be a habit with him. But the Marlins tied it up in the bottom of the inning with a HBP, single, and groundout. In the third, Heyward scored on a McCann single to make it 2-1, but once again the Marlins rallied back to take control against Kris Medlen. After tying the game on a double by newly-minted Braves-killer Gaby Sanchez, they took the lead on a two-run homer by veteran Braves-killer Dan Uggla. In the sixth, the guy who stole Mike Stanton‘s name hit a solo shot against Medlen to make it 5-2, while the offense was in Hibernation Mode.
Jesse Chavez pitched a perfect seventh, and earned the win when the Braves exploded. Heyward led off with a single. Chipper hit a grounder to third that Jorge Cantu double-botched, though they called it only one error, runners first and third. McCann was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then Glaus drew a walk to make it 5-3. Hinske tied it with a single, scoring Chipper and Diaz (who ran for McCann). AAG tried to bunt and screwed up, but everyone was safe on another Cantu error. Nate Louth, of course, grounded out, but managed to make only one out, a force at the plate, setting the stage for the folk hero. After singles by Prado and Heyward, Chipper grounded out to score another run, making it 10-5.
Venters pitched the last two innings. He gave up a leadoff single to Uggla in the eighth, but pitched around it. In the ninth, he loaded the bases on a walk to Wes Helms, a single, and an infield hit, but somehow got Uggla to ground out to end it.
Heyward had a day of it, going 3-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Bobby emptied his bench, mostly in the eighth inning, and you have to give him credit, despite some odd choices — it worked out.