In the eighth, after 22 2/3 innings against the Cubs, the Braves finally got a hit with runners in scoring position. And what a hit it was — a three-run double by Julio Franco to give the Braves a 5-2 lead. The inning started with the Braves trailing 2-1 and the first two batters failing to reach. But Marcus Giles singled, and Dusty Baker went to his bullpen. Three walks later — two by Andy Pratt and one by Kyle Farnsworth — the game was tied, Andruw laying off a low outside pitch 3-2. Julio, in the game after LaRoche left with an injury, worked Farnsworth from 0-2 down to 3-2, fouling off seven pitches in the process. On the thirteenth pitch of the AB, he doubled off the right field wall and Jones, Drew, and Jones scored.
With Smoltz unavailable, Kevin Gryboski got the save, allowing one hit but getting three groundouts. Base12 Alfonseca, who has yet to allow a run this year (!) pitch 2/3 of an inning for the win, and Nitkowski pitched 1 1/3 of perfect ball with two strikeouts. Jaret Wright went six, the first four of which were great, but allowed a home run to Todd Freaking Hollandsworth in the fifth and a sac fly in the sixth, walked four and struck out four. All in all, it was a pretty good start but if he’s going to tire in the fifth…
Furcal didn’t play; DeRosa led off and Garcia played short and hit eighth. The two were a collective 0-7. Furcal, as you’d predict, is day to day. Laroche was 0-2 before leaving after fouling a ball off his foot. I assume he’s day to day too.
Day game tomorrow, Kerry Wood on the mound for the Cubs, Russ Ortiz for the Braves. The Cubs’ bats are really struggling, so it’s a good opportunity for Ortiz to turn it around.