No trip to Coors Field could be complete without a game in which 18 runs are scored and without at least one incredibly cheap home run. The Braves trailed 7-5 going into the eighth, but rallied with two out for six runs on just four hits.
Jesse Garcia had one of those hits, a two-run single to put the Braves ahead 9-7, and had three hits on the day. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s still Jesse Garcia. The Braves also got three hits combined from the “leadoff men” DeWayne Wise and Hollins. (Rafael Furcal was out with a injured finger suffered in his boneheaded steal attempt in the first game, but did pinch run.) The only Brave starter to not reach base was Marcus Giles, who oddly seems to hit everywhere but Coors Field.
John Thomson didn’t seem to be pitching badly, but couldn’t escape the Coors Effect. (Every time he gets away, they pull him back in.) So he winds up going 6 2/3, giving up seven runs, and his ERA goes up more than a run to 4.01. Two of those runs came on one of the cheapest homers I’ve ever seen — the cheapest, I think, since Sid Bream’s check-swing job in Denver all those years ago. He did give up a legitimate homer to Vinny Castilla. Nitkowski got the win, and Reitsma and Smoltz finished it off.
The Braves try to win the series and finish the trip at .500 tomorrow, with Horacio Ramirez going against Shawn Estes. I expect Horacio will finally get some run support.