ESPN – Marlins vs. Braves – Box Score – June 02, 2008

Joe Simpson really needs to know how to shut up. While he was up in the booth complaining about how Yunel Escobar can’t bunt and should be trying to make one of those stupid “productive” outs, Yunel calmly hit a homer over the center field wall to end the game. Well, if he could bunt it wouldn’t have happened, so I guess it’s a moral failing. I’ll take it.

The Braves led most of the night, but couldn’t break the game open (despite a number of opportunities) and were victimized by the left field “play” of Greg Norton and Omar Infante, misplaying outs into hits, singles into doubles, etc. Francoeur gave them a lead in the second with a solo homer. In the third, Teixeira singled in Escobar to make it 2-0.

Joseph Reyes had a no-hitter the first time through the order. But he allowed four hard-hit balls in the fourth, three of which found the grass, and the Marlins tied it up. The Braves retook the lead on a Teixeira homer in the fifth, while Reyes was doing well again, but he cracked up in the seventh and couldn’t get an out. Manny Acosta did a pretty good job to keep the Marlins to one run after entering with first and third, nobody out.

Francoeur swung and missed at a terrible pitch 3-2 with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh, the second time in the game the Braves left the bases loaded. Soriano somehow got through the eighth in an inning where I was sure Bobby was trying to lose. Escobar singled in Blanco with two out in the eighth, but Chipper left the bases loaded, flying out to deep center.

John Smoltz came in to save the game. He isn’t really throwing at three-quarters — it’s more like two-fifths, a funky looking crooked-arm delivery. He had great stuff but not the greatest control. To his credit, he really could have gotten out of it. He got a one-pitch out on the leadoff man, then a flare that Andruw would have gotten and Blanco almost did. Instead, it bounced away for a double. Wes Helms, the longtime bane of my existence, singled to left to make it first-and third. The next batter flew out, and it looked like a mistake that the runner at third didn’t go home when Francoeur threw about fifteen feet up the third-base line; Helms made it to second. The next hitter hit a clean single but not a particularly impressive one to score the tying run, and then Infante, in left field for defense (!) botched it to allow Helms to score. It was scored an earned run but really shouldn’t have been.

After Teixeira grounded out to lead off the ninth, Francoeur walked and went to second on a McCann walk. I make fun of Francoeur’s decision making at times, but he made a legitimate heady play on a pinch-hit grounder by Anderson, ducking and distracting the third baseman enough that he double-clutched the throw to second, allowing Anderson to beat the relay and extend the game. Big play, because a wild pitch then allowed Francoeur to score and tie the game.

Ohman blew through the top of the tenth like the reincarnation of Mike Remlinger or something. Kelly Johnson, who didn’t start (and I will have more about that tomorrow) but came in earlier as a pinch-hitter, led off the tenth with a walk. Genius Joe wanted to see Escobar bunt (with Infante on deck, mind you) and Bobby agreed, but the pitcher was wild and threw away the second attempt, allowing KJ to get to second. Simpson still wanted a walk and was complaining about Yunel not being good at it, as I said long ago in the opening to this writeup, when Yunel hit a 3-0 pitch out of the park.

Chipper, by the way, was 2-4 with a walk and is hitting .407. It is probably bad form for me to point out the twelve men left on base, isn’t it?