The Braves (pace Tony LaRussa) apparently bitched their way to another win to take the series from the Cards. That’s the only explanation, because there’s no way that the team with ten hits and five walks should lose to a team with four hits and three walks. But that’s what happened.
Smoltz somehow managed, in a game in which he struck out only one batter, walked four, and allowed nine hits, to allow just one run. Don’t ask me how he did it, but he did it. Reitsma finished the seventh and pitched a one-hit ninth. Kolb walked Albert Pujols, which isn’t such a bad thing, and got three outs to finish.
The Braves got their runs in the sixth. To that point, they’d had only one baserunner, and that was Smoltz on a two-out single in the third. Betemit led off the sixth with a single and Smoltz sacrificed him to second. Furcal, who’d looked hopeless earlier, doubled him home, and Langerhans — not only starting but hitting second! — singled Furcal in, thereby guaranteeing another week of pinch-running duties. The Braves got two more baserunners in the seventh on LaRoche’s single and Andruw’s walk, but couldn’t get them home. Chipper hit for Betemit (thereby bringing Orr in to play third) even though Betemit had a hit already. I don’t get it.
Monday off, then a two-game miniseries with the Marlins. Florida is losing right now, which would mean the teams would be back in a virtual tie for first. ESPN has it as Hampton versus Leiter, then Hudson versus Burnett, meaning Ramirez is being skipped.