The game was, arguably, not as close as the score indicated. The Braves broke on top 3-0 in the second, and each time the Astros scored a run the Braves came back with a single run of their own in the next inning. But Smoltz allowed a two-run homer in the ninth that made it tighter.
John Thomson (the AP misspells his name, and not just once; I’m sure they’ll correct it in future updates) had another good start, his third in a row, allowing two runs in seven, four hits, striking out two and walking one.
I know you’re all probably sick of my little earned/unearned rants, but the first run allowed (in the fourth) showed, to me, the total lack of value of the dichotomy. LaRoche failed to even make contact on a ball hit moderately softly to his right, a ball I thought was a routine out but went under his glove. Because he didn’t make contact, it’s a “hit” and a run scoring from second is counted “earned”. Ironically, if he’d knocked the ball down but failed to get an out, they probably would have scored an error but the run wouldn’t have scored. And Drew missing the cutoff man from the outfield on the play, allowing the hitter to go to second (he then got to third with one out on an infield single, but was stranded) — that’s not an error either.
LaRoche did make up for it at the plate, going 2-3 with a walk, and had RBI double, later scoring, in the three-run second. Three other Braves — Chipper, Estrada, and Thomas — also had two hits. Nick Green hit second with Marcus on the bench with an apparently minor leg injury, but Drew, as mentioned, was back in the lineup. (He went 0-4 with a walk.)
The last game of the series tomorrow is a night game, Hampton against Darren Oliver. I mean, you have to hit Darren Oliver, right? Marlins are losing big, and the Mets winning; if that holds up the Marlins will be only a game ahead of the Mets. The Phillies are scoreless in another crack-of-dawn West Coast affair.