– MLB – Recap – Padres at Braves – 08/14/2003

This started off as a pitchers’ duel. It was 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, all the runs coming on solo homers. There weren’t even many other hits. But the Braves got three runs in the sixth and another in the seventh, and soon the Braves’ bullpen was involved, and you know what that means.

Other than the solo homer in the second, Russ Ortiz was strong for seven innings. He entered the eighth having allowed just four hits and a walk, and striking out seven — a high total for him. But he allowed a double and a walk leading off the eighth, and then Ray King “did his job” and let the two score, and then it was Gryboski’s turn, and Smoltz wound up coming in with two out in the eighth. So following the idea that when the Braves relievers give up runs with a big lead they’re setting up a save situation, I guess he did do his job. John hasn’t pitched much lately and wasn’t sharp, for him, but got his 43rd save.

Javy hit two homers, giving him 33 for the year, one off his career high. Chipper homered for the third game in a row, and just missed another with a fourth-inning double. Sheffield missed the plate trying to slide in on that play, but made up for it with a solo shot his next time up; he has an 18-game hitting streak now. Andruw doubled and walked, and might be feeling a little better. Furcal was 0-5; you’re living good when your leadoff hitter does that and you still score seven runs.

The Braves now host Arizona for four. Those viewing the game will be those in attendance, those with the Extra Innings package, and the seven people in the entire world who get Turner South, which theoretically will air all four games. If a cable network is showing a game, but nobody receives its signal, does the game happen?

The Phillies are back in second, twelve back, and in the wildcard lead by half a game.