I think three out of four against the Dodgers is the best you could have hoped for coming in. It just so easily could have been a sweep… Javier Vazquez didn’t get a complete-game shutout, but he had the next best thing, eight innings of one-run baseball. He served notice by striking out the side in the first, and fairly cruised from there. The only run he allowed was in the fourth, on a single, a terrible flare double by Ramirez that went about 80 feet but right over LaRoche’s head and right on the line, and a sac fly. Fortunately, we had an incident of Manny Being Stupid, as Ramirez tried to score on a long pop flyout to Yunel, and was easily gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
It was 3-0 entering that inning, and stayed 3-1 for a long time after. Diaz opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second; it was to right field, and just a little longer than his four flyouts to right last night. Sooner or later, I guess you get it right. Prado singled in KJ in the third. The Braves had a good chance to break it open in the fourth, loading the bases with none out, but LaRoche grounded into a double play. It did score Yunel (who hit in the cleanup spot against a lefty, with McCann hitting fifth; a good idea). The Braves didn’t do much in the middle innings, as Jeff Weaver faced the minimum in three relief innings. One wonders what would have happened if Weaver had started instead of a guy who started a minor league game on Thursday.
Vazquez got some good defense behind him, and finished with seven strikeouts, two walks, and five hits. The Dodgers never got more than one baserunner in an inning except in the fourth. He had little room for error, leaving the game still up 3-1, with 113 pitches thrown. But the Braves broke it open in the ninth. Yunel started it with an infield single. McCann worked the count, just missed a double down the line, then doubled to right-center. (Snitker tried to wave Yunel home, but Yunel stopped anyway. Yunel Escobar has better judgment than our third base coach; there is no reason to risk anything with nobody out.) Diaz singled in Escobar, then LaRoche hit a sac fly to score McCann. 5-1, and that seems like enough, but they poured on. KJ walked; Bobby gave up an out not by bunting, but by sending Norton to pinch-hit. After that, Church laced a double to score Diaz to make it 6-1, and Prado singled to score two runs, 8-1.
Bobby didn’t bring in Gonzalez, even though he was Already Warmed Up. Unfortunately, the most rested member of the bullpen was Acosta, who was awful. He gave up consecutive singles, but did get a double play, scoring a run but seemingly all but ending the game. However, a hit batsman and a single later, Bobby had to go to the pen, bringing in Moylan, who finished it off. He never should have had to.