– MLB – Recap – Braves at Pirates – 08/27/2002

They just have to make it interesting, don’t they? The Braves led most of the way and took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth. And then Kerry Ligtenberg couldn’t get the first two runners and Bobby turned to John Smoltz. John was wild and allowed a double, a walk, and a bloop single (while getting two outs) to take it 5-4 with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first. But he got a fly ball to get out of it and get his 46th save. Hey, maybe they’re trying to maximize his save opportunities! He’s getting pretty close to set up for the NL record, barring an extended strike.

Matt Franco was huge, driving in four runs with a solo homer and a bases-loaded triple. He also singled, but never got a chance to hit for the cycle — he was lifted for Julio Franco and his spot didn’t come up again anyway. Good thing he doesn’t get to play every day or we might get tired of the .370 hitter.

Gary Sheffield has a hurting left thumb and took the day off. Darren Bragg started and (typical for Bobby) hit in Gary’s third spot in the order. He did drive in Matt Franco to score the other run, the one that made the difference in the end. Vinny actually had a hit and scored a run, amazingly enough.

Not that it matters, but the Phillies have moved into second place, 18 games back, with a victory over the Expos. Anyway, the magic number is now the combination of Braves victories and Phillies losses.