That’s more like it. The Braves broke through in the fifth to make a close lead a rout, and keep a six-game lead in the division. The rookies were the main driving force. Adam LaRoche was 3-4 with two homers, three RBI, and three runs. Charles Thomas, for his part, was 3-5 and drove in two, scoring one, and had the big hit in the game, a two-out two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth to give the Braves a 5-1 lead at the time. When Wes Helms — showing why I used to call him Wes Smelms — threw away an easy grounder to allow two more runs to score, the rout was on.
Also joining the fireworks were Drew, who was 2-4 with a homer, and Furcal, Giles, and DeRosa (starting for Chipper) who all had two hits. Andruw was hitless, but walked twice and had a homer taken away from him.
Mike Hampton had a “Good Hampton” performance to get to .500 on the season. He allowed just one run in five innings, but gave up nine hits and struck out only one. It really shouldn’t work, but somehow he makes it work, at least some of the time. Juan Cruz actually got into the game, which doesn’t happen often, and gave up a run, which happens even more seldom, going two innings and striking out two. Gryboski and Alfonseca pitched single innings. It looks like Smoltz, Reitsma, and Martin are the main relievers, and that tonight’s crew are the second string.
The Phillies are winning 15-4 over the Rockies, so we can safely assume they’ll hold on. If that’s what happens when those teams play in Philly, things might get really ugly in Denver. The Marlins lost, and are nine back… Actual Braves Baseball on TBS tomorrow, as the Braves start playing national games just in time for the Olympics. Are they trying to drive the ratings down? Anyway, by my reckoning every game but one (the middle game of next week’s San Diego series) out of the next three series will either be on TBS or Sportssouth, or will be a Fox regional game.