An auspicious beginning and a masterful Alex Wood start turned sour in a hurry and reminded us that the Braves are still the Braves. Honestly, that’s a bit of a relief—I had been growing worried that we’d lost them somehow.
A Jason Heyward walk in the first set a positive tone, and he came around to score on a Justin Upton single. In the top of the 6th the Braves had a great chance to pile more runs on, but they only got one out of a bases loaded, one out situation (who am I kidding, they actually got one! Are we already so far removed from last week that I am complaining about this?) Chris Johnson knocked in that run, but Freddie Freeman was thrown out by a mile also trying to score, and an Evan Gattis strikeout ended the inning.
Wood looked awesome until the 8th, having only given up three hits and faced one over the minimum. He gave up a leadoff walk to start the inning, though, and those always come back to haunt you. A ground rule double later he was out of the game. Jordan Walden relieved him and got a groundout to first for the first out and the first Pirate run of the game. Then the Pirates tied the game on a wild pitch, and Wood’s gem was wasted.
The 9th inning brought more heartache to a Braves team that has seen plenty of it in August (just keep repeating to yourself, “at least they are not the Rockies…at least they are not the Rockies…”) David Carpenter gave up a leadoff bloop and then recovered to get Andrew McCutchen to popup for the first out. Starling Marte followed with a shot to left-center, which bounced off of Justin Upton’s glove after neither he nor his brother bothered to call for the ball. B.J. nearly ran into him, and the Uptons’ inability to communicate left runners on second and third with one out. A sac fly later that was that.
The Braves did end up winning a series on the road, so that’s a marked improvement already over their last road trip. You can’t win them all, unless you’re the Nationals and then you can win them all unless you’re playing the Braves.
The Braves head to the bandbox in Cincinnati next, where they take on a lefty with a 16.87 ERA tomorrow night. The Braves have had decent success against lefties this season and counter with their ace, so I’d be shocked if the Reds don’t win 10-0 because that’s baseball.
Natspo(s) delenda est.