Horacio Ramirez, stopper. Obviously, he got some support, but he gave the Braves their first good start since the last time he pitched, struck out eight, and won his sixth straight decision. After Ramirez went 6 2/3, the grizzled veterans Bobby trusts — Gryboski, the returning Boom-Boom Bobby (Jason Marquis returned to Richmond), and Holmes — finished the game unscathed. Hernandez, amazingly, went an entire inning without allowing a run. Call Ripley’s.
The Braves jumped ahead in the second with four runs, one on a wild pitch and the others on a bases-loaded double by Furcal. Chipper was the hitting star, going 4-5 (starting 4-4) with a homer. Sheffield and Andruw also homered, bringing back memories of a few weeks ago when the Braves offense was really clicking. Then again, it was the Devil Rays. (To be fair, Jeremi Gonzalez is a good pitcher, or has been one this year.) Every Brave starter who wasn’t Vinny had a hit, including Darren Bragg, who started in left field, with Chipper DHing. Why Matt Franco couldn’t have started in left, I don’t know.
It was Bobby’s 1500th win as Braves manager. He goes for 1501 tomorrow night, but unfortunately Reynolds is pitching. The Devil Rays have their other good starter, Victor Zambrano, going.