See, score enough runs and the other team gives up, and even the Braves’ bullpen can hold an 11-run lead. The Braves had 18 hits, led by Andruw with four and Sheffield with three (including his 25th homer) and Shane Reynolds managed to get the Expos to hit the balls at the defenders. It works, sort of.
The Braves popped open the game with five runs in the first, the big blow a bases-loaded triple by Javy that actually was a single misplayed by Vlad Guerrero. Zach Day pitched like the pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery he is, with two HBPs, a walk, and a wild pitch; the impressive hitting would come later in the game. The Braves put the game out of reach of even their bullpen with six runs in the eighth, all off of one pitcher. I don’t know what Frank Robinson was thinking; did he see yesterday’s game?
Reynolds really was giving up bullets, but most of them were hit right at someone. The good news is that he didn’t walk anyone in seven innings. The bad is that he gave up nine hits and a homer. Still, this will easily get him five more starts. Trey Hodges was roughed up again, allowing a run in the eighth to move his ERA above 4, and Darren Holmes — the only reliever other than Smoltz I have any faith in right now — pitched a perfect ninth. Ray King is the only reliever other than Smoltz with an ERA below four, and the way he’s pitching that won’t last. (Also, he’s allowed six unearned runs that are at least partially his fault.)
Darren Bragg ran for Sheffield late and wound up getting a double in the ninth, pulling himself above the Mendoza line… The Phillies lost to the Marlins, and trail by 10 1/2. They’re now only three up on Florida in the wildcard… The Braves and Expos play a day game tomorrow and a night game on Monday. Great scheduling, MLB. Nothing like having to spend a day in a city where French-speaking is enforced by law, followed by a night game, then having to go through customs and then fly all the way to Texas.