The Braves now have a three-game winning streak, though it’s somewhat tarnished by the fact that the Reds’ pitching is really bad. And because when you hit four homers you really should have more than six runs. The Braves got all their runs via the longball.
Julio was the man tonight, hitting a solo shot in the first to open the scoring, and a two-run shot he actually pulled to break a 1-1 tie in the third. It was his first two-homer game since 1996 and makes him certainly the oldest man to hit two out in the same game.
In the fifth, Andruw hit another mammoth shot, if not as long as his upper-decker yesterday, for his 19th on the season to take over sole possession of the NL lead. He also had a single and is slowly getting his average up. Estrada hit a two-run shot in the eighth to provide breathing room. It was against Kent Mercker, so from the right side, where he rarely hits for authority. He also had a double. Marte doubled in the second to briefly get above the Mendoza line but fell back below it later. Marcus had a couple of hits, and Johnson and Sosa had one apiece.
Sosa was clearly upset when Bobby pulled him with one out in the fifth, a 4-1 lead, and one runner on. He’d thrown 75 pitches, suggesting that that he was on a hard count. He threw 74 against the Rangers. He wasn’t quite as sharp as in that game, walking three, but allowed just one run on four hits, and struck out five.
Bernero got the win after allowing three hits in an inning and two-thirds. Foster walked two but struck out two; Boyer finished his inning getting the last out on two pitches. Brower allowed a couple of hits but got out of it. Bobby, for some reason, brought in Reitsma with a five-run lead to pitch his third game in a row. I understand not having much faith in Vasquez, Kolb, or Gryboski, but to use your closer like this in a game like this against a team like this is way risky. Reitsma allowed a double to Griffey but struck out two.
Day game, TBS, tomorrow, Kyle Davies versus Luke Hudson, a rookie with a 6.55 ERA in his first two starts. I’m putting the over-under at 12 for total runs scored. I’m not even giving odds on the chances that the Braves talked to the Reds about Mercker sometime this week, home run or no.