Paul Byrd had a terrific start tonight, and seemed to have about the best stuff I’ve ever seen him have. He took a shutout to the eighth — actually, a two-hit shutout — before tiring, and struck out six. Both of the hits he allowed in the first seven innings were singles, but he allowed a double and a triple in his last inning. Juan Cruz pitched the ninth and walked one while striking out two.
The Braves had nine hits, breaking a long string of games with double-digit hits. But nine isn’t bad. Furcal and Giles had two apiece, one of Marcus’ a double. (He also hit one that I swear would have been a homer before his injury that instead was a routine out. The ball just isn’t carrying for him right now.) Marrero hit a homer in the fourth. The big inning was the seventh, when the Braves scored four runs on three singles, two walks (including one by Julio with the bases loaded), an error, and a sac fly. That’s the Expos for you.
The Marlins game with the Cubs is postponed due to the hurricane; I don’t know when they’ll make it up (since tomorrow’s game has also been postponed and there’s every chance Sunday’s will be as well) but they’ll probably have to. Anyway, the Braves lead the division by 8 1/2 again. The Phillies beat the Mets, for what it’s worth… Ortiz pitches tomorrow night against John Patterson for 4,000 Canadians and a select audience of aliens throughout the southeast. If they play a baseball game but nobody actually sees it, does it count in the standings?