ESPN.com – MLB – MLB RECAP

Wilson Betemit looked a lot less professional today. In the fifth inning, with one out, a runner on second, and the Braves leading 1-0, he mysteriously tried to cut down the runner at third rather than throwing to first. Two batters later, the runner scored on a sac fly. The runner had previously reached when Betemit couldn’t make a play on a wicked grounder which turned into a double. It was at least the third time in the past three weeks that the Braves were hurt by a player trying to get the lead runner when getting the batter probably would have gotten them out of the inning unscathed.

The Astros didn’t need much help with Andy Pettitte — another member of the Enemies List — on the mound. Pettitte allowed only one run on two hits through six. The term for his performance was “effectively wild” — 58 strikes on 101 pitches.

Which leads us to Ortiz, who got the loss despite one of his best outings, striking out nine. But he threw 133 pitches through 6 2/3 before giving way, inevitably, to Gryboski with the bases loaded. And Gryboski walked in the leading run. I don’t get any of this. Why was Ortiz (on a hot day) allowed to throw so many pitches? And why was he allowed to walk the bases loaded that late in the game? And why bring in Gryboski, who’s supposed to be the double-play guy, with two out? Typically, Gryboski gets out with an ERA that’s slightly improved. Atypically, Juan Cruz pitched the last two innings, but typically he was terrific, striking out two, walking none, and allowing only one hit.

The Braves stand to fall to 3 1/2 behind the Marlins, who are winning big as I type, while the Phillies play tonight. The Mets could pull to half a game behind the Braves… The Braves travel to St. Louis for three, then Milwaukee. I like to think of this road trip as the Beer Run.