As I indicated below, the Braves blew the game on defense in the second inning; the seven innings after that were mostly playing out the string, though they rallied a little. To recap: the Cards opened the second trailing 1-0 with two singles. On the second, the Braves made their first misplay, as they tried and failed to cut down the runner going to third, which allowed the batter to get to second.
With second and third, none out, the Cards hit a grounder to second, and Marcus tried to get the runner at home rather than take the out. It might have worked, but Estrada took the throw in front of the plate and the runner scored. Then the pitcher tried to sacrifice the runner to second; Thomson, apparently planned to throw to second, dropped the ball and everyone was safe to load the bases. Womack grounded to third, and Chipper got the force at home but Estrada tried to get the double play — which he had no chance at with Womack running — and threw the ball into right, allowing a run to score and the other runners to move up a base. Walker hit a chopper that Furcal should have at least knocked down, but which instead he let go over his head for a two-run single. Then Rolen homered, and it was 6-1.
It’s not the first time the Braves have gifted the other team with a big inning by not taking outs when they were given them. Let’s make it the last, okay?
Thomson, despite the bad defense giving him some excuse, wasn’t very good. Four of the eight runs he allowed were scored as earned, which seems about right. Juan Cruz pitched three innings in relief of him, during which the Braves whittled the lead to 8-4 and he struck out three. But Tom Martin came in to give up a two-run homer to eliminate any doubt.
Chipper homered in the fourth, and continues his hot hitting. So does Furcal, who was 2-3 with a walk… The Braves play the Padres in San Diego starting tonight.