The Braves scored five runs in the first, with Julio Franco’s grand slam responsible for most of them, and held on from there. Chris Reitsma gave up three runs late to make it interesting for awhile, but it was still a pretty comfortable win. The Marlins lost to the Mets, and the Braves and Mets are now only a half game behind Philadelphia.
Johnny Estrada drove in the first run of the game and later hit a two-run homer for insurance; both he and Rafael Furcal had three hits. Franco’s return to the lineup obviously helped the team, though oddly Mike Hessman came in for defense late. That’s kind of like… well, having Mike Hessman pinch-hit.
John Thomson had an odd game, struggling with his control (three walks, 93 pitches, 57 strikes) and giving up six hits while striking out only three, but got three double plays turned behind him and allowed only one run on a solo homer. Reitsma wasn’t so lucky, allowing five hits, including a two-run homer. Smoltz, pitching just because he needed the work, finished it off strong. (Nine pitches, nine strikes.)