One game now separates the Braves and Phillies after today’s game. John Smoltz pitched two full innings to get the save, and the Braves pounded out 16 hits.
The offensive heroes were Julio Franco, who hit a three-run homer to give the Braves the lead in the sixth, and JD Drew, who had four hits, including a homer and a double, scored twice, and drove in two. Eli Marrero also had three hits and is now at .339; your guess is as good as mine why he’s still batting ninth.
Russ Ortiz wasn’t as sharp as he’s been in recent outings, walking five and striking out only two, but was able to get a number of Phillie hitters with weak popups. He allowed four runs in 5 2/3 and left the game with two on. Alfonseca got out of the jam, Reitsma pitched after him, and then Smoltz game on, striking out three and allowing two hits for the save. The Phillies got those hits back-to-back leading off the ninth, but Smoltz got Thome, Burrell, and Ledee to end it.
Larry Bowa is a putz… What a time for the All-Star break, huh? Well, Marcus should be back either in the first series after (four against the Expos). Hopefully, Jesse Garcia will get the axe, but we’ll see.