Well, they tried to give that one away, but Jeff Francoeur came through in the clutch. Hey, it happens!
Jorge Campillo was brilliant, again, but had to leave the game with a blister problem after four innings, having allowed just two hits and no walks, striking out three, and leading 1-0. Blanco (the only lefty in the lineup against death-on-lefties Randy Johnson) pulled a triple into the corner leading off the third, and came home on an Escobar single. But that was pretty much all they could do against Johnson (6 IP, 5 H, 10 K — at least he didn’t throw another perfect game) and Jeff Bennett was called on to hold the fort. He breezed through the fifth, then got into some trouble of his own making when he made a throwing error in the sixth, but got out of it.
In the seventh, he started having control difficulties (with his pitches, instead of his throws) and walked the leadoff man. Chipper fielded a ball by the next batter and threw to second, too late; the runner came off the bag with the glove on him, and should have been called out, but the umpire didn’t see it. Bennett got the next two, then gave up an RBI single to a pinch-hitter to tie the game.
The Braves couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the inning; Ohman and Boyer breezed through the eighth. Kotsay (in the game on a double-switch) led off the bottom of the inning with a single, but Escobar stupidly bunted and then just as stupidly ran in the baseline, getting called out for interference and sending Kotsay back to first. Naturally, Infante then hit into a double play. Boyer walked a man with two out (two of the balls should have been strike three) but that was all the ‘Backs could do in the ninth.
Chipper led off the bottom of the inning with a single. As I sarcastically noted, if you think Escobar, the team’s second-best hitter (with McCann and Johnson sitting) should have bunted with a fast man on first, surely you should bunt with Teixeira, right? He hit a little chopper that served as a bunt and moved Chipper to second. Arizona came with a righthanded reliever, and we all started to get ready to make fun of them if they ealked Francoeur, but they pitched to him, and Jeff hit an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall to end the game.
Boyer got the win. Chipper was 2-4, raising his average to .417.