More like this, please. Maddux was great (until he tired and his defense — well, Vinny — let him down in the eighth) and the Braves broke for four in the first and ran with it from there. Trey Hodges tried to make it interesting in the ninth, but didn’t allow a run.
The offensive heroes were mostly Furcal (4-5, two runs scored), Chipper (1-2 with a three-run double in the first, plus three walks) and especially Sheffield, who went 3-4 with a homer and double, plus a walk. Oh, Vinny was 4-5, but didn’t get any help from those around him, getting just one RBI and no runs.
Maddux allowed eight hits, but as usual didn’t walk anyone, plus struck out three. Two milestones: it’s his fourteenth win, bringing him one within the record for consecutive 15-win seasons, and he finally got his ERA below four, to 3.96. Since the break, it’s 2.95. The Pirates got two runs, one unearned, in the eighth, and Ray King came in to get the last two outs.
Matt Franco started at first base, indicating that maybe Bobby is starting to think about making a move. However, he was 0-4, and the possibility of a all-Julio first base situation is rearing its ugly head. Is it possible Mike Hessman is the Braves’ best first baseman?
Hampton pitches in a day game tomorrow… The Magic Number is ten, and it the Phillies are beating the Mets in the ninth so it probably stays that way.