About time. The Braves made it entirely too interesting, Smoltz coming in for a struggling Reitsma in the eighth and a game in which they led 5-2 and 6-4 in doubt. But he got out of it unscathed.
Bobby reshuffled the lineup, putting Marcus Giles in the leadoff spot, Julio Franco playing first (against a righty) #2, and Drew-Chipper-Estrada-Andruw as the heart of the order. Mark DeRosa was benched for Wilson Betemit. Betemit was 0-4, but other than that, it went great. Chipper was 3-3 with a walk, before leaving for a pinch-runner (I think it was precautionary with the bad field) Drew had two hits including a two-run homer, and Giles, Estrada, and Andruw all also had two hits. Leadoff man Giles also stole a base.
Thomson was going okay until the fifth, which was delayed by rain; when he came back, he was very hittable and Antonio Alfonseca actually had to come in to save the day. Which he did, getting Lankford and Rolen with two runners on. Base12 thereby got the win, with Cruz and Gryboski joining in to each give an inning of hitless relief. The bullpen is actually not that bad right now, though Reitsma seems more hittable of late. Smoltz gave up a single to Tony Womack, which is so fluky I’m going to ignore it. Other than that, good stuff, great control.
Now Milwaukee for three… As bad as the Braves have been playing, they’re still only four behind the Marlins and two behind the Phillies. And Larry Bowa hasn’t been fired yet, so anything’s possible.