I don’t know what the most remarkable thing about this game was. Maybe it was the Braves coming back off the mat after being no-hit for 6 2/3 innings. Or scoring the last six runs of the game to win. Or Anderson hitting his second homer in as many games. Or Francoeur hitting a two-run, two-out homer in the ninth inning to tie it. Come to think of it, that was definitely the most remarkable thing about this game.
The Braves, as I mentioned, were no-hit to two out in the seventh by… some guy. I’m not going to look him up, he was some rookie I never heard of. So, normal. (It would have been a perfect game but that Escobar faked getting hit by a pitch off his bat; he was erased on a DP anyway.) The Cubs, on the other hand, weren’t shut out for the first third of the first inning, as Alfonso Soriano led off the game with a homer. They added one in the second and two in the sixth to make it 4-0. Kawakami, other than the homer, didn’t pitch that badly; he got some shaky defense from Chipper and ACHE and the Cubs clustered their hits. I’d probably rate this his second-best start, and I’m glad he got off the hook.
Chipper finally broke up the no-hitter with two out in the seventh. The Cubs got another run in the top of the eighth with a solo homer from Lee, but Anderson answered with his second of the season leading off the bottom of the inning to break up the shutout. The Cubs brought in their setup man, Carlos Marmol, after Prado reached on an error. Marmol was super-wild and walked Francoeur. Gregor Blanco (up for the demoted Jordan Schafer) hit a liner that the rightfielder caught on a nice play. Norton was hit by a pitch, then KJ drew a walk to make it 5-2. Escobar hit a sac fly to make it 5-3, but Chipper grounded out to end the threat.
In the ninth, ACHE swung at a pitch in the dirt that went to the backstop. He ran it out, this time (he usually doesn’t run out balls in the dirt from what I’ve seen, but it was a long way away) and reached first with one out. They got Prado, but Francoeur then hit a two-run homer to tie it. I really can’t quite believe that happened, but I’ve seen it several times now.
The game went extras, and the Braves got good relief work from Gonzalez in the tenth and Soriano in the eleventh and twelfth. The leadoff man reached in the tenth and eleventh and was bunted over, only to be stranded. Yunel hit a grounder past the shortstop with one out in the twelfth. He then stole second. The Cubs decided to pitch to Chipper anyway — with McCann on deck, it’s not an easy decision. Chipper lined a 3-2 pitch to left, Escobar scored, and the Braves won a game I pretty much gave up on about the fourth inning.
The Braves had seven hits — all, of course, in the last six innings. They drew four walks, all of them in the last five… Soriano got the win. He gave up a couple of baserunners, but struck out three and looked generally dominant. You have to assume he won’t be available tomorrow, but we needed it today.