Mike Hampton gave up three runs in each of the first two innings. I’m willing to write this off as an aberration caused by the weather and the nitwits in the Atlanta front office (the team decides whether to start the game, then the umpires take over once the first pitch is thrown) who allowed the game to proceed when it was raining. The game was stopped for nearly an hour in the first inning with one in and the bases loaded. As noted below, I couldn’t watch the game but the Marlins got two singles on bunts to pitcher, and I’m certain that they couldn’t have easily done that without water on the infield. Hampton came back but didn’t get his bearings until the third.
Gary Sheffield hit his 38th homer, accounting for all three Braves runs. He has driven in 127 runs this year, tying Aaron’s Atlanta record. The Braves didn’t try to push it, bringing in Langerhans and Estrada in the middle innings. It’s easy to say this means nothing, but it does mean something — it means that the Giants are going to move in front for home field.
Good news on the pitching front after Hampton. Jason Marquis threw two good innings, allowing no baserunners and striking out two. Gryboski (and I hate to say it, but with Boom-Boom lurking the Braves need him, he’s at least serviceable) threw a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. And Smoltz pitched a complete ninth, getting three ground balls. His control is good (9 pitches, 8 strikes) but I don’t know about his velocity.
The Braves now host the Expos, for what certainly won’t be the last time. Major League Baseball is shameless about the way it treats that team. The Marlins and Phillies will play three.