And back to the offensive struggles, even though the Braves got the win. Well, Kip Wells is a good pitcher. The Braves had eight hits, but only Javy Lopez was able to do anything productive, driving in one run with a double and another with a solo homer.
Fortunately, Mike Hampton was having another good start. Hampton only allowed four hits and one unearned run, being “effectively wild” again. The only hits to the outfield were all by Jason Kendall, and the only run scored on an infield single by a player who reached on an error. Robert Fick twice committed errors at first base and is digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself. After Hampton pitched eight, Will Cunnane got the save, the first of his career.
The Braves screwed up in the eighth and lost a chance to get some insurance when Marcus Giles botched a sac bunt with Furcal at first base and the Pirates got the force at second. But why are you bunting with a .317 hitter, or with a guy on first who is 25 of 27 on stolen base attempts? Sheffield singled next, but the Joneses made outs. I hate giving up outs, and I thought Bobby had stopped bunting with Giles.
The magic number is nine. The Phillies play tonight, then come to Atlanta for four. It would be nice to take that series.