Manny Acosta is a useful reliever. But he has no business closing. Given a 4-2 lead to start the ninth — not the easiest of saves, but on the easier end, with the bottom of the Marlins’ order up and Dan Uggla out of town — he retired one batter, allowed four runs on four hits, including two homers and a double, and basically singlehandedly lost the game.
The Braves didn’t exactly have an offensive explosion, but it wasn’t too bad for a game against a lefthander and with Chipper getting an off-day. After Glavine fell behind 1-0 in the first, Norton singled home Johnson to tie it. In the second, Escobar and Francoeur had RBI singles to make it 3-1. They didn’t quite go into hibernation mode, getting a run in the sixth with Josh Anderson (in his first start) singling home Infante, making it 4-2 at the time.
Bobby did a good job managing. He didn’t try to push Glavine, limiting him to five innings and not trying to bring him back at about 100 pitches to start the sixth. Blaine Boyer went 2 1/3 and pitched well, striking out two and allowing just one baserunner on a walk. Ohman got a break on a groundout call (the hitter was evidently obviously safe) but wound up retiring both of the men he faced. Everything worked out, but with Soriano unavailable Acosta was the closer — and he’s not. Ring came in, too late, to finish the inning.
Escobar got on with one out in the ninth, but KJ hit a long flyout and Francoeur, in his inimitable way, hit a first-pitch groundout to end the game. Chipper never came to bat; he probably would have hit for the pitcher two batters later. Instead of a tie for second, the Braves are two behind the Marlins now.