At last, a rally that came in a contested game. At last, the Braves beat the Padres.
Through six innings, John Smoltz kept the Padres off the board; he allowed a few hits but kept them off the board. The Braves couldn’t score either, so he took it into his own hands, tripling in McCann in the fifth.
Finally in the seventh, the Padres broke through with two runs. Maybe Smoltz was tired from the triple or maybe it was tiring from pitching, or maybe they just got some hits. Anyway, the Braves looked in deep trouble facing the excellent back of the bullpen the Padres have assembled.
But the Braves pounded Akinori Otsuka in the eighth, and his defense didn’t help. Marcus singled, then Chipper doubled to make it second and third, none out. Andruw grounded to short to tie the game, but the fielder dropped the ball. Andruw, for once, got up the line quickly, and it was first and second, nobody out.
Defensive mistake number two came on a long fly to center by LaRoche. Chipper easily made third, but the outfielder threw to third instead of second, and Andruw advanced into scoring position.
And then, at last, it happened. Francoeur was intentionally walked. It was always pretty likely that his first walk would be like that. Anyway, tie game, bases loaded, one out. Langerhans hit a chopper that the first baseman couldn’t do anything with except throw wildly home. (It was scored a single; maybe he could have made a play at first throwing to the pitcher, but probably not.) The throw got away, nobody backed it up, Andruw scored behind Chipper to make it 4-2. Exit Otsuka. McCann hit a fly ball to make it 5-2, and Julio singled in Langerhans for the final score.
Jorge Sosa allowed one hit in the eighth but also got a strikeout to get the win. Farnsworth pitched in the non-save situation since he was already ready. He allowed a leadoff infield single then threw the ball away, letting the runner get to third, but then got the next three outs without allowing the run.
Next up, the Cubs at Wrigley for three. Hudson-Zambrano in the first game, which will be on ESPN and TBS. Tuesday’s game will be on Turner South; the Wednesday day game will be on FSS and on WGN for all you slackers. This is all very badly arranged. Why couldn’t the Tuesday game be on one of the national stations?