McCann saves the season!
The Braves led most of the night. It was 2-0 after two, as Kotchman drove in McCann and Escobar with a double off the wall. Unfortunately, Yunel had reached on an HBP and left the game with a “contusion” on his arm. (“Contusion” is doctorese for “bruise”.) This was unfortunate, as it put Diory in the game. The Braves were already shorthanded, as Prado was hurt on the ankle by a hit ball during fielding practice before the game and Ryan Church was out with one of those injuries that are apparently part of living with Ryan Church, though he continues in his key role of not being Jeff Francoeur.
The Marlins got a run back in the fifth, but overall Javier Vazquez was pretty much what he usually has been, striking out eight and mowing them down more often than not. The Braves got it to 3-1 in the seventh with a broken-bat single by McLouth to score Kotchman. Bobby sent Vazquez out to start the eighth, which surprised me, though he wasn’t at 100 pitches yet and it wasn’t a bad gamble. He gave up a homer to the first batter — Commando Cody Ross, of course, his eighth career homer against the Braves, it only seems like eighteen — and I was really surprised Bobby stayed with him. He got the next hitter, but then walked the pinch-hitter, his first walk of the night. And then Bobby finally got him, bringing in Gonzalez. Who went 0-2 on Wes Helms, only to throw Smelms another one of those 0-2, “Oh, you can’t hit my fastball, let’s slow it down for you” breaking pitches which he lined for a single. Gonzalez then threw a wild pitch. He struck out the batter, the hapless Emilio Bonafacio, and Bobby had him walk Ramirez to load the bases, a move I strongly disagree with. And Bobby didn’t come in with Moylan to pitch to Cantu, for some reason (fear the Marlins would hit for their cleanup hitter with Ross Gload?). Gonzalez got a grounder, but it was a swinging bunt down the third base line, all hands safe. Amazingly, he did get the next batter to preserve the tie.
The Braves didn’t do anything in the ninth. Moylan gave up a leadoff single, then had to get three groundball outs in a row before the replacement (value?) middle infield finally turned a double play, with a force play on the first one and an error by KJ on the next. McLouth lined a single to lead off the tenth. KJ bunted him over. The Marlins walked Chipper, even though McCann is a far better hitter against righthanders at this stage — you can tell their manager trained under Bobby. Sure enough, Brian hit a three-run homer to take the lead. The Braves almost had more, loading the bases, but out of position players (except Ross, whom Bobby won’t use unless McCann’s been ejected for no reason) Moylan hit for himself and struck out. Soriano gave up a leadoff “single” to Gload that was actually a play where Kotchman spazzed out and tried to make a play on a ball to the second baseman and didn’t get back to the bag on time, but then struck out the side. It seems like that’s about the fifth time this year he’s had to get four outs and it just made him mad enough to through everything past the batters.