– MLB – Recap – Braves at Giants – 08/19/2003

Jeez, if Barry Bonds doesn’t hit in the clutch, I’d hate to see what he’d do if he did. Bonds led off the bottom of the tenth with a homer to end the game. Ray King, who theoretically is supposed to get lefties, took the loss.

The game never should have gotten that far. The Braves had a 4-2 lead in the seventh off of Javy’s two-run homer, and it was 4-3 with two out, two strikes on Andres Galarraga, and a runner on third. And trying to “waste” a pitch, Trey Hodges threw a slider to the backstop. Maybe Javy should have caught it, but it was a wild pitch, tie game.

The Braves’ other two runs came on solo homers, Giles in the first and Sheffield in the fourth. They never trailed in the game until the end. It’s really the sort of thing that drives me bananas. They didn’t mount much offense other than the homers, garnering just three other hits, one walk, and one HBP. Andruw is clearly struggling and was 0-4 with two strikeouts; they really should give him a rest.

Russ Ortiz was good enough to win, but his no-decision wasn’t a perversion of justice or anything. He allowed the first three Giants runs, walking five and allowing six hits, with only four strikeouts in his return to San Francisco. He needed 119 pitches in seven innings. Hodges, other than his wild pitch, was pretty good, allowing just the one baserunner.

The next middle-of-the-night game involves Reynolds against Jesse Foppert, two guys with ERAs over five. So it will probably be 2-1, that’s the way things have been lately. It’s on ESPN2 if you’re outside the SportsSouth area… The Braves’ magic number is 26 with losses by Philadelphia and Florida. Those teams suddenly have a problem of their own; the left-for-dead Expos, who are now just four behind the Phillies. Between the wildcard and the Central, there are eight teams in the NL within five games of each other, all trying for two spots.