So, we’re back into midseason “If we score ten runs, we’re in good shape” mode. Whatever works, I guess. Villarreal had his first bad start, going only three innings and allowing four runs, three of those in the first. He allowed six hits, struck out two, walked one, and threw a wild pitch. Still, if he only pitches badly one in three times he’s got a leg up on everyone but Smoltz and James.
The Braves cut it to 3-2 in the first when Chipper hit a homer (righthanded, his first that way since hurting his side, I think). The Natspos made it 4-2 in the third but the Braves erupted in the bottom of the inning. L’il Tony had a pinch-hit single leading off, then Marcus doubled to make it second and third, and Renteria doubled in his turn over the centerfielder’s head to make it 4-4. The Joneses were retired, then Robinson for some reason (yeah, I know, lefty-righty, but be serious here) had Francoeur intentionally walked to face McCann with the bases loaded.
It sort of worked, as McCann popped up. But the ball went into the dead zone behind third base and went off the shortstop’s glove to be scored a double scoring Renteria. Then Robinson had another intentional walk issued, this to Diaz, leading to a clean three-run double from LaRoche to make it 8-4.
Cormier managed to get through the fourth without giving up a run. Marcus singled leading off the bottom of the inning, then after getting the next two the pitcher hit Andruw to bring Francoeur to the plate. Jeff hit a three-run homer to make it 11-4. Cormier gave up a couple in the fifth to make it 11-6. McBride pitched two good innings (striking out three and allowing a double to Soriano, one of the seventeen doubles he hit in the series) and was credited with the win. LaRoche drove in McCann (who went 4-5) with a sac fly in the seventh and Andruw hit a solo homer in the eighth to reach the final score. Kali picked up the Atlanta Save. Day off (much-needed, even if they had Thursday off already) before the Giants come to town.