Chipper! He opened the scoring in the fourth with a two-run homer, and after the Cubs tied it, broke the tie with another two-run homer in the ninth. In between, strong pitching from Tim Hudson.
Both pitchers took perfect games through three. Furcal broke open Carlos Zambrano’s attempt with a double leading off the fourth. Marcus bunted him to third, and Chipper followed with a line shot to right. Andruw followed with a single, but the Braves wouldn’t get another baserunner off Zambrano.
Hudson’s perfect game bid was broken up by a hit batsman leading off the fourth. (Side note: the batter didn’t really try to avoid the ball. Actually, he turned his leg to maximize the surface area. The rulebook clearly states that you have to make an effort to avoid getting hit, but often batters do not. The pitch should have been ruled a ball.) The next hitter doubled, and Hudson semi-intentionally walked Derrek Lee to load the bases. Then he got a DP to score a run but minimize the threat, and then settled down until the seventh, when Lee hit a solo home run that would have been a routine flyout anywhere else but Fenway Park, where it would have been a single off the Green Monster.
Hudson gave up two more hits in the inning. The Cubs had an opportunity, sort of, to score, but Michael Barrett was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a line single to Kelly Johnson.
Marcus singled with one out in the ninth off of Kerry Wood, now a reliever. Chipper followed by looping — that’s the only word for it — a homer to right center. It might have been a double in a real park. Hudson pitched the ninth, allowing a leadoff single but then getting three consecutive groundouts. Giles couldn’t turn the first one, pulling LaRoche off the bag, and the second one to first really wasn’t a double play ball. The third one was, but it was no longer necessary at that point.
The Marlins won this afternoon. The Natspos are idle and the Mets and Phillies are on the west coast… Thomson versus Jeriome Williams tomorrow.
Voting for Smith vs. Bayless tomorrow.