Stop me if you’ve heard this before — the Braves took an early lead, the offense shut down, and the pitchers held on for dear life. Last night, it was 1-0 from the bottom of the first on, Tom Glavine pitching seven shutout innings and John Smoltz coming on with one out in the eighth after Tim Spooneybarger let two runners one and finishing the game. The Giants had a number of chances to tie it but couldn’t get the hit, and stranded Livan Hernandez at third after he tripled (he was out at third, but the umpire missed the call) leading off the sixth.
The only run came after a Furcal double leading off the game. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a Sheffield single; Sheffield later added two more hits and is now at .300 for the season. And that was it. The Braves had eight hits but Furcal’s was the only extra-base hit and they grounded into three double plays. The 4-6 hitters were hitless, though Chipper walked (intentionally) once and Andruw (unintentionally) twice. Vinny, of course, was 0-4. The Braves 6-8 hitters (Castilla, Lockhart, and Torrealba) are so bad that they simply can’t afford to have the Joneses have a hitless night. What, Vinny is going to drive them in?
The Braves now lead the Expos by 19, the Mets by 20, and the other two teams by 21. In a way, if the Braves didn’t exist there’d be a heck of a race going on, except all those teams stink… One more with the Giants tonight, then the Rockies come to town. Former Brave Jason Schmidt pitches for SF tonight against Damian Moss.