Well, that was… envigorating, I guess. After getting struck out twelve times in the first five innings, the Braves exploded, only to have the Phillies explode back at them, and barely hung on.
The Braves got runs in the second on solo homers by LaRoche and Pratt. But everyone else was making outs, usually strikeouts, against Cole Hamels. Hudson was pitching okay, giving up a run in the third but mostly keeping the Phillies in check.
Then in the sixth, Hamels suddenly collapsed, and the Braves put up five runs. Giles walked and Renteria doubled him home, just like last night, then Francoeur brought Edgar home with a broken-bat line single. The capper and highlight was LaRoche’s second homer off the lefty, a three-run shot to make it 7-1.
But Hudson got into trouble in the bottom of the inning and Diaz and Pratt suddenly couldn’t catch the ball, Diaz committing an egregious two-base error on a popup and Pratt unable to catch about three pitches, including a wild pitch (he really should have knocked it down) from the reliever McBride that made it 7-4 with two still on and Bobby Abreu at the plate. But McBride came back to strike Abreu out.
Then the Braves came back with two more of their own in the seventh on their own wild pitch and a groundout they couldn’t turn two on. But then Ken Ray, victim of the Closer Curse, allowed a double, a two-run homer, and another double before finally getting out of it with a 9-6 lead. And in the eighth, Yates allowed a two-run homer and the tying run on first before getting Bell to end it. Betemit hit a solo homer to make it 10-8, and Wickman calmly, professionally, got a 1-2-3 save. He’s not Rivera, but I feel in marginally good hands with him — which is about the first time that’s happened with a reliever since Smoltz went back to the rotation.
Braves end the road trip 7-2, have climbed to within four games of .500 and fourth in the wildcard. And they won their last two games without either of the Joneses, though Andruw is supposed to be back tomorrow.