Atlanta 6 Los Angeles 5

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap

You know, for a supposedly dominant reliever, Eric Gagne doesn’t look too good when he’s taken out of his little save-situation niche. The Braves, not for the first time, beat Gagne after the latter came into a tie game, Adam LaRoche singling in pinch-runner Nick Green to give the Braves the lead, and three Dodger outs later the win. John Smoltz, unlike Gagne, was perfect, and now holds the Braves’ career save record.

Estrada had a big offensive game, going 4-4 with a homer, three RBI. Green ran for him, so Estrada should get some sort of credit for the winning run… Chipper walked three times, Furcal had a two-hit night.

The Braves led 5-1 after four and 5-3 after seven. But Reitsma gave up back-to-back homers leading off the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. It wouldn’t be good if Reitsma (the vulture winner) relapsed into the form that had me calling for his head a few weeks ago.

Russ Ortiz pitched 6 1/3 decent innings and deserved the win. He had some control problems, walking three, and gave up two homers, but was able to pitch around difficulty. The Braves dodged a Martin/Gryboski pairing to finish the seventh, after the two came in with two on and one out but managed to each pick up a strikeout.

The Braves are now a single game behind the Dodgers for the second-best record in the league. Right now, the teams are racing for home field in a likely first-round playoff matchup… The Marlins were off; the Mets did indeed pull into a third-place tie with the Phillies… John Thomson versus the seemingly immortal Jose Lima tonight.

5 thoughts on “Atlanta 6 Los Angeles 5”

  1. You can’t really talk about Ortiz’s “control problems” because that’s how he pitches.

  2. Indulge me in another “observations” post as West Coast games are rare in that I get to watch them start to finish.

    Reitsma was terrible. If Bill Simmons followed the Braves, the term Chris Reitsma Face would be getting tossed around a lot. They showed him in the dugout in the top of the ninth and he looked like he’d seen a ghost.

    A few key plot points about the end of the game:

    Furcal saved the game. In the bottom of the eighth it was 5-5, two on, two out for Izturis. Chris Reitsma Face is in full effect and Izturis hits a screamer back up the middle that looks for all the world like a go ahead single. Furcal makes an impossible diving stab of this ball, and manages a flip to Giles to end the inning. Reminded me of the Weiss play in Houston in the playoffs a few years back. Just an incredible play in a huge spot.

    Gagne did indeed look very mortal in the ninth. But the key play in the inning was the passed ball by Brent Mayne that made it first and third with one out. Now the infield had to come in, and LaRoche’s shattered bat dribbler becomes a game winning single instead of a inning ending double play. Vin Scully repeated the “passed ball was a huge play” so often that I thought he was trying to make Mayne cry.

    Oddly enough, Martin and Gryboski looked great out there. Martin had a sharp curve ball going and blew away Steve Finley with a fast ball up and in. Gryboski struck out Bradley and made him look bad. Wierd. Obviously I was screaming for Juan Cruz in both the seventh and eighth. Vin Scully found it impossible to keep the names Gryboski and Grabowski straight and frankly I don’t blame him.

    Finally, Scully dropped this piece of info on me in the ninth: “Smoltz is the son of a musician who used to play at Detroit Tiger victory parties” Is that right? I’ve never heard that before.

  3. Beltre just hit his walk-off homer, so it wasn’t a perfect night for a Braves fan. But I had a good night nonetheless. I live in Greenville, SC, and made it to the G-Braves (AA) tonight against Jacksonville. Horacio Ramirez was the starter on a rehab assignment. He looked great the first 3 innings. He only struck out one batter, though, and that maybe should have been a warning sign. He got them in the first, 1-2-3. He gave up a check-swing infield single in the second, but erased him on a double play. Then he gave up a single to the #8 hitter, but got a double play to end the inning on a nice play when the pitcher tried to bunt him to 2nd. He (Ramirez) fielded it and threw to second where Herr turned the DP with the pitcher running. So he’d faced 9 batters through 3. Wheels came off a bit in the 4th (I may be getting the sequence a little off, because I didn’t have my score book tonight), as he gave up several hits, most of them hit hard. There were two big plays that stuck out. Bases loaded, one out, and the batter (no idea of name, but it would have been the #5 hitter if I’m figuring right) smokes a double to right center. Everybody (well, me) is thinking bases-clearing double, but a nice throw to the cut-off man and a good relay gets the runner from 1st, so 2 runs score, now there are two outs. The next batter hits a single to right, and the runner on 2nd is thrown out at the plate trying to score. So, lots of hits and runners in the inning, and two runners thrown out at the plate (yikes! talk about giving away outs). He gives up another run in the fifth on back-to-back doubles (I believe one of them was to the Jacksonville pitcher). He is lifted with 2 out in the 6th, with Greenville up 6-3, and a runner on 1st. Zach Miner comes in and looks strong, striking out 3 of the first 4 hitters he faced. He left the game in the 9th after getting hit by a line drive, but I’m not sure where it got him exactly. It looked like it deflected off his glove then not sure where from there. Not sure how serious it was, but he walked off the field and didn’t appear to be bloodied or in too much pain or anything (for what that’s worth…). Hitting, Napoleon Calzado and Scott Thorman had homers, Francoeur (I didn’t even realize he had been called up) had a double and at least one other ball he smoked but right at the CF, and Marte had a K his first AB, a walk his next, and a 3-0 RBI single later. Johnson (leadoff hitter–I forget his 1st name) had at least a couple hits (double & single), and Aaron Herr had a triple & double (or triple & single)–a good offensive night all around. And we won, 9-5.
    Both sides had 13 hits (I think), but the good guys made theirs count more (good example of why power is more important than batting average alone). Ramirez gave up 9 hits & 3 runs, and Minor had one run charged to him on the hit that knocked him from the game and an inherited runner that scored on a sac fly after he left. I know that’s probably more minutiae than most of you wanted but thought it might be interesting (hopefully {and, since I don’t have typekey, Mac has to approve anyway, so hopefully he likes}).

    Oh, and I picked up a signed Dan Meyer card for $15 from the charity silent auction they were having. Hopefully it will be worth something good someday :-) (that will mean he has somewhat of a successful career, hopefully with the Braves).

    I mentioned to my wife the other day that this has been my favorite team since ’91. I think part of it is that they have really surprised most people (practically all the professional prognosticators picked them for – well, not 1st), and that really hasn’t happened since them, but they also have a lot of guys I enjoy watching–new exciting guys like Drew, Thomas & Nick Green, on top of ‘old’ favorites like Marcus & Chipper. Anyway, Mac, thanks for letting me ramble and the work you do with the site–I check it every day–you’re awesome!

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