Well, that’s something you don’t see every day — a tenth-inning walk-off walk. The Braves went back into not-scoring-until-late mode, but they got enough. The game had a real playoff atmosphere and a steady late-innings Tomahawk Chop, which dumb as it is really annoys the other team and their fans.
John Smoltz was great. He allowed eight hits, but they were sorry hits, flares and weak grounders and an RBI popup. That sort of thing. He struck out four, and walked two. By all rights, the Natspos should have gotten one run, max. But they bunched the flares, got a swinging bunt, that sort of thing. It happens sometimes.
Meanwhile, for six innings the Braves were hopeless against Livan Hernandez. To that point, their only hits were a flare double by Chipper and a two-out triple by Andruw. Meanwhile, their flares and groundouts weren’t finding holes, and they were making easy outs early in the count.
Finally, in the seventh, Chipper hit what looked like a homer to cut the lead to 2-1, but it was brought back. Then LaRoche did hit a homer. Langerhans singled, and McCann hit what looked like a game-tying double, but it was caught on the run.
Furcal was stranded in the eighth, but Andruw doubled leading off the ninth. He went to third on Chipper’s single, and scored on a long flyout by LaRoche. But Betemit (running for Chipper) was caught stealing on what I can only hope was a hit-and-run.
McCann singled leading off the ninth. Julio bunted him to second, which I thought was weird — why use a pinch-hitter to bunt? Plus Francoeur ran for McCann, both removing his bat as a possible pinch-hitter for Johnson and would have forced Estrada and his sore back into the game. Furcal was walked, and then Johnson popped up.
Enter Marcus, who looked absolutely hopeless all night. On the game thread, we were debating what his problem is, since he’s looked terrible since the break. I suggested that his “flu” was actually mono. But he was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Andruw came up, and walked on four pitches. The first three weren’t close. The fourth was closer, but obviously not a strike, though the Natspos argued as usual. Braves alone in first place.
The Mets and Marlins are losing, and the Phillies are tied… Hudson faces Esteban Loaiza tomorrow on SportsSouth.