Braves 6, Cardinals 3 (12 innings)

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 11, 2010 – ESPN.

My nerves can’t take much more of this. (Nor can my thumbs — I was switching back and forth with the Alabama game.)

The Braves never trailed in the game, but were always in danger of losing on one swing, which is often the case when you’re playing a team with Albert Pujols. In the first inning, the Braves got two-out hits from Martin Prado and Brian McCann, and Derrek Lee then walked to load the bases. Bobby’s experimenting with Nate McLouth in the six spot, and it’s working, as he suddenly looks competent, and he drew a walk to make it 1-0. Alex Gonzalez struck out to end it. They loaded the bases with two out again in the second, on a single by Omar Infante and walks to Jason Heyward and Prado, but couldn’t get any runs. So six runners left on in the first two innings — not good.

Fortunately, Tommy Hanson was dealing, and the Cards couldn’t get much of anything going against him. In the fifth, Prado and McCann singled to make it first and third, none out, but a botched play wound up with Lee hitting into a double play and Prado still standing at third. No problem, as McLouth came through again, tripling to right to make it 2-0, though he was stranded when Gonzalez flew out.

In the sixth, they got to Hanson, getting a couple of singles, then a two-run double from Pujols. (If Melky Cabrera wasn’t so godawful slow, they might have cut off the second run.) Pujols got caught stealing third to help them out of the inning.

Heyward led off the seventh with a homer, off of a LOOGY (why lefthanders throw him inside, I’ll never know). The Braves had a good chance to get another run when Lee doubled with two out. Rick Ankiel ran for him, and McLouth was intentionally walked. Gonzalez struck out to end the threat. Things weren’t looking too good for AAG at this point, but wait.

The Cards got the run back in the eighth against Jonny Venters, who just isn’t what he was a few weeks ago but also got some horrible defense behind him, including a grounder to Prado that probably should have been an inning-ending double play but which Martin dropped to load the bases. Pujols beat out another double play try to tie the score at three.

From then on, nothing much happened for a while. Billy Wagner walked the leadoff man in the ninth but no harm, and Takashi Saito was terrific in the tenth. Heyward made a big catch in the eleventh, the dreaded Kyle Farnsworth inning, a shoestring play on a line-drive with a runner already on. Craig Kimbrel demolished the Cards in the twelfth, striking out two.

But the Braves were just going down meekly in order. Finally, Ankiel, after falling behind 0-2, worked a walk with one out in the twelfth. Eric Hinske hit for Kimbrel and singled, getting Ankiel to third. Bringing up… Gonzalez. Who fell behind 1-2, then fouled two off. Then hit a homer to left field. Ballgame.

239 thoughts on “Braves 6, Cardinals 3 (12 innings)”

  1. that was a bomb…great win, but this shouldve been taken care of in the 1st or 2nd innings tonight…Tommy deserved the win

  2. what a win! mclouth is looking solid and i was uber pissed when he came out of the game. it worked out though. seriously, when is bobby going to realize how bad of an outfielder melky is?

  3. Great win, hopefully a big morale booster.

    Medlen jumping around with the arm brace and a batting helmet :)

  4. Gonzalez struck out to end the threat. Things weren’t looking too good for AAG at this point, but wait.

    classic…

  5. McClouth/Diaz platoon in left with the Melkman being the odd man out? Bobby really like Ankiel’s arm and D in late and tight situations.

  6. I prefer a Diaz/Ankiel platoon in left with McLouth starting everyday.

    What a difference a few days can make…

  7. I think Venters has either lost a little break or a little speed on his pitches. He’s still getting the groundballs, but I think the k’s are a little down. I wish they could give him some rest, but at this point in the year I don’t know if a rest will help him or hurt him.

  8. Props to Ankiel for drawing the walk. Not a great player but after striking out nine times, it takes balls to draw the walk. I love the little things like that and getting to third that decide baseball games. We are lucky the Cards threw. AAG a slider.

  9. @5 – I noticed that too; I enjoy seeing stuff like that.

    Also, I’m not sure what to make of this, but it was funny to me. My mother-in-law – who is not a sports fan – has been staying with us for a week. When AAG came up to bat, she said “hey, isn’t that the guy who almost always swings at the 1st pitch?” Apparently I have been watching a little bit of baseball (and listening to my comments about the team & games as well) during her visit here. I was impressed (and we were both surprised when he took a close pitch for ball 1, but the whole house got to celebrate moments later)…

  10. Best player I saw today: Denard Robinson. He just may save RichRod’s job.

    I am pooped. Attempting to watch 2 football games and the damn Braves simultaneously is tiring.

    Our shaky defense and AAG scare me going forward.

    But I love AAG. At least today.

    Any doubts I had about Tommy were erased today.

  11. The SEC may be down to one dominant team this season.

    It sure is good to see Nate show some signs of life lately.

    Even Derreck got an extra base hit. Dang next thing you’ll tell me is that USC beat Georgia.

  12. What’s the consensus on the Clemson-Auburn game next Saturday?

    In traditional Clemson fashion, we’ve played two patsies in a row to “kick off” the season.

  13. I don’t really hate Clemson, or even think about them at all. I’m still a little bitter about NCAA baseball, and I reflexively root against anyone in orange.

  14. Bama still has some work to do on defense. Even though we held Penn St. to 3 points, we let them drive the ball quite a bit – it was almost bend but not break. )-; We definitely miss Cody up the middle, but getting Dareus back will be nice. The offense looked great (unstoppable at times), but I don’t know how good PSU’s defense is.

    Auburn has the poltential to be a decent team, but they’re not very good now. My guess is they’ll beat Clemson, but if they lose their qb at anytime (a likely occurance given his style of running), Auburn is in big trouble.

  15. Just saw some of the highlights from tonight and there was one of Votto’s homer with the booth guy or something going “Joey’s done it again! Joey Votto, a walk-off home run, the first of his career.”

  16. when you play 6 straight SEC teams after their BYE weeks, any team can beat you….Bama is the best team in the Nation, but we have a long road ahead

  17. I thought Dooley had a good game plan. I was impressed with him. Get your licks in now on the Vols. We’ll be back.

  18. @12

    Are you expecting that simply because he had the GW homer? Or because he kind of overzealously celebrated? I’m guessing the latter, but how can you blame him after the day he had to that point and how important these games are with the playoffs on the line.

  19. I remember what
    Smitty said when Lane was coach.
    It still makes me laugh.

    Vanderbilt football.
    Turkey insemination.
    Five more syllables.

  20. He might be plunked for flipping the bat, but if so, it’s my sincere hope that during the ensuing brawl somebody takes a shot at LaRussa. What a douche.

  21. Gonzalez also skipped like a schoolgirl down the line from third base to home.

    Escobar exiled
    Antics and bat flips hated
    His replacement now just skips

  22. I am not as good as you guys, but I am going to say this:

    We may be struggling, but we aren’t dead.

    Btw, in case you are too caught up with the division race, look at where the Rockies are standing now. Can someone please get rid of them from the race?

    Oh, and you have to check out what Frenchy did today. Talk about another way to get a walk-off win.

  23. The Fox announcers kept talking about how the Braves were lucky to have a veteran like AAG up in that situation, apparently forgetting his previous at bats. Do any of these talking heads have the slightest idea what they are talking about?

    As for Francouer, I’m surprised he didn’t swing at the pitch that hit him.

  24. Yeah, this whole haiku thing peaked with the left-hander throwing cherry blossoms. Probably should have closed up shop and called it a fad after that.

    I’m glad the Braves game is late tonight. I’m really looking forward to Lincecum vs Latos.

  25. You don’t like haikus? Here’s a villanelle.

    The games are tense and taught,
    September’s raison d’etre:
    The pennant race is fraught.

    Our lead has gone to pot:
    Though we’re not ruined yet,
    My confidence is naught.

    My playoff seats were bought!
    It seemed an easy bet
    Or so at least I thought.

    And now I rue my haught,
    My haste has me upset:
    Cuz I’m why we got caught.

    It’d help, though, had Wren bought
    A bat, or just had let
    Fred Freeman get his shot.

    The Fish, now, drew the lot
    To sweep the Phillies’ set;
    But they, we know, are not
    The answer that we’ve sought.

  26. wow…

    64, you just improved our odds of victory a few percentage points for tonight per baseball prospectus

  27. Wife: Hey, whatcha doin’?
    Me: Reading a baseball blog. They are talking about football. In haiku form.
    Wife: You don’t have to be a smart-ass. If you are looking at porn, just say so.

  28. @69

    I read my haiku to my wife yesterday. She made fun of me for the rest of the day. I went to a buddy’s house to watch the Tennessee game, she thought she would embarrass me by telling my friends about it. We spent the next 30 minuets coming up with haikus, it totally blew her mind.

  29. Having gone through life’s formative years since the last Braves’ playoff appearance, I have a new approach at following September baseball. I had been watching the standings of both the Wild Card and the East every day since late August, but when the Braves went on that little skid, I didn’t even bother. There was no point in checking the standings if the Braves were going to wear down, I was thinking. It’s kinda like not wanting to check your online bank account page during certain parts of the month. You know it’s bad, so why bother?

  30. I love the haikus. Brevity is the soul of wit, and I think they convey ideas as well or better than most posts.

  31. My wife and I went out to a sports bar for dinner in Birmingham Friday night. The place was covered up with Penn State fans. They played a Metallica song on the stereo and the place went nuts. The Keystone was flowing like wine.

    Seriously, they were very annoying, doing synchronized cheers. I’m not a Bama fan but I found myself wanting the Tide to kick their teeth in.

  32. I think the plethora of haikus yall have created illustrates several key reasons that have made bravesjournal one of my daily stops on the web – 1) Mac’s write-ups 2) the generally high level of intelligence among the followers 3) the fantastic sense of humor at the heart of the dialogue

  33. Kolb got a concussion.

    Was Lane Kiffin as bad at UT as he is at SC-west

    Yeah, screw that guy. He should be 6-0 by now.

  34. I’d watch the NFL if they did away with the helmets, and gave everyone four ounce gloves, and found some way to incorporate grappling. But as it is, I’m too much of a man for such a wussy league.

  35. jjschiller,

    I think that the rule is that if you can do it, you don’t have to show respect for it. If you’re implying that you could run the strength and conditioning exercises that these players run, learn to recognize and read plays at the level that these guys do, find a way to perform consistently over a long season and prepare over an off-season, let alone do it at an above-average level of performance, then you most certainly have a right to call them wusses. If not, don’t complain and insult people that are doing things that you couldn’t do.

    It’s not as manly a sport as Rugby, but that doesn’t mean that these guys don’t pull their weight.

  36. And Vick is stopped on a half-assed running play to lose the game for the Eagles. Reminds you of old times, doesn’t it?

  37. desert-

    I’m comparing football to ultimate fighting super championship CIIIXV!!!!1. I think the sport is stupid and over violent. Concussing an opposing player should not be part of game strategy in a stick-and-ball kind of sport.

  38. No I think the players are absolute gladiators and I think their union is a joke and their bosses are scum. It’s a shame that they will all talk like Ali and Frazier when they’re 60.

  39. @94 I know, so why can’t the Eagles see that? They gave away their best player to bank on Kolb and he was awful then got hurt. It was awesome.

  40. Joe Morgan thinks Brendan Ryan sucks because of Mark McGwire…not because of him being Brendan Ryan.

  41. @123 I was just speaking about the last few innings…not their OVERALL performances. Is that allowed, Smitty?

  42. Are u kidding me? Defense, defense, defense. Ankiel would have had a shot. Hudson following his career pattern, faltering in September.

  43. @141 I was starting to wonder for a second. FYI: Lowe is facing the Nats tomorrow, so the Braves might want to win tonight.

  44. Anybody have a super secret poison ivy cure? I’m enduring my third day of looking like Joseph Merrick. It sucks.

    Lee isn’t making things any easier.

  45. Derrek Lee shows us
    That players who have broke back
    Make mountains of outs

    In what commercial
    Or other appearance does
    Corso not creep out?

  46. LeBron at the Cowboys-Skins game. Apparently, growing up in Ohio, he took time out from being a big Yankees fan to be a big Cowboys fan. What a front runner. He plays the villain role well.

  47. Joe, I’m pretty sure the Braves weren’t expecting 30-100 from Melky.

    But as Joe says, he has a lot of ability…

  48. The Cardinals are showing what a real 1B and CF can do if you’re not saddling yourself with Derrek Lee and the McLouth/ Ankiel/ Melky circus.

  49. More of that defense
    That has made the Braves into
    What they are today.

    (Namely, a team desperately trying to hang on to the wild card.)

  50. tim hudson looks rough, but melky is an f’n disgrace of a ballplayer. how can a ball be hit to the left center gap, not make it to the fence, and be a triple?

  51. How does someone get burned by the bottom of that batting order? Oh nevermind, it doesn’t matter.

    And what it will take to get Melky out of the lineup… I don’t know.

  52. The Cards have three good hitters, a rookie in Jay playing 8 miles over his head, and shit. How does Hudson get bombed by that lineup?

  53. How many of those “strikesout are bad, just put the ball in play and good things will happen” meek two-strike swing double plays have the Braves hit into this year?

  54. Doesn’t anyone except Heyward remember that you do not have to swing at bad pitches? We knew that early in the season, I think.

  55. We traded away Escobar to get AAG and then Blanco to get Ankiel. Clearly, Braves players drew the lesson that walks get you run out of Atlanta.

  56. 200,
    True. 1 run through 5 vs Lohse is comically bad. Had a chance for a big inning in the third (I think) but Derrek Lee swung at a 3-2 slider a foot off the plate.

  57. I’m pretty sure Joe would wipe Alberts ass if he asked. Are we just a joke for ESPN? Heyward walks and we get a replay of “juiced” two hrs.

  58. Ankiel, AAG, and Lee are combining to hit .251 coming into tonight. Glaus, Escobar, and Blanco combined to hit in the .240s. Clearly, average wasn’t the consideration here.

  59. Having Melky in the lineup also exacerbates everything bad. He can’t field, he can’t run, he has little plate discipline, and he lacks power. When you throw him in there with an Alex Gonzalez and a scuffling Lee and another crappy outfielder (take your pick), you have half a lineup that’s below average.

    Of course, the Cardinals have that now, and we can’t get any of them out.

  60. @208 And I’m sure Wren didn’t anticipate that kind of performance when he brought them in. At least Alex is providing some power, which Blanco and 2010 Escobar didn’t.

    I can see complaining about the Yunel trade, but wistfully reminiscing about BLANCO? Come on. He struck out more than he walked and had zero power, and he really didn’t make contact all that often to take advantage of his speed. And he had all of one stolen base. He’s not a good player.

  61. Blah blah blah Cardinals blah blah blah blah. He should have caught that one. Lucky Braves there. Blah blah blah Cradinals.

  62. I love how complicated Morgan makes it that Rasmus had to run further to that ball than the first one he robbed.

  63. 211- Blanco’s not suited to start, but he’s a reasonable fourth outfielder and has a better CF glove than anyone now on our roster. The bigger problem is that we ditched players with plate discipline to acquire players who didn’t, which says something about our priorities, which our incumbents noticed.

    The problem with getting AAG, Lee, and Ankiel wasn’t so much any of them as all of them.

  64. prelude to this rant: i think bobby cox is a great manager.

    i’ll question anyone’s sanity who continually starts melky cabrera over anyone with 4 appendages.

  65. Walk percentages 2010:

    Rick Ankiel: 9.7%
    Gregor Blanco: 11.1%
    Derreck Lee:11.2%
    Troy Glaus: 12.9%

    I agree that Escobar for Gonzalez was a downgrade (at least longterm), but that trade was because of personality, not skill sets. The other two substitutions indeed netted us less patient guys, but only slightly so. Insofar as the Braves lost plate discipline, it was primarily because they

    (1) gave Melky and Diaz more playing time after McLouth was demoted,
    (2) substituted Infante for Chipper after the latter got hurt,
    (3) and, yes, swapped Gonzalez for Escobar.

  66. Haiku summing up tonight

    Heyward is real good
    Melky sucks, Derrek is old
    Braves not playing well

    Haiku summing up the situation for my favorite teams

    Cam Newton is Good
    Jason Heyward is awesome
    Both need help real bad

  67. Yes, you did, Ryan.
    But that sentiment should be
    Repeated often.

    And so this game ends.
    Second place once more is ours.
    This team is so DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED.

  68. 5-7 this month. Giants/Padres 1 game back and Rockies 2.5 games back (and winners of 10 games in a row). The Braves better get a sweep against the Nats.

  69. I don’t see us sweeping anybody. The offense is too erratic and the starting pitching has really taken a down turn. Hudson appears to be tiring, JJ is a mystery, Minor is completely unproven and Lowe is Lowe. The only person I have confidence in at the moment is Hanson.

  70. @ 232, 5-7….eerily reminiscent of haiku.

    Is there a poetic form that features 18+ syllables in the opening line?

  71. Ten days ago, I thought the Braves were pretty much a lock to at least make the playoffs. After last night, I was pretty much ready to give up, but things still are not as bad they appear. They have 18 games left, 9 at home, 9 on the road. If they go .500, they end up with 91 wins, which might make it or might not (but likely would not win the division). If they play the way they have all year on the road, they will win, maybe 4 games. That means, if they win 6 of the next nine at home, they still end up with 92. The Giants would need to go 11-7 to get to 92 and the Rockies 13-6. I don’t know the Rockies schedule but they are bound to go on the road where they don’t play as well. The Giants are playing much better and Lincecum seems to be rounding into form, but I still have a hard time believing the Giants won’t hit a slump.

    There, that’s as optimistic as I can be.

    The weird thing is that the teams in the NL with the best run differentials (Braves and Padres) are the teams that are stuggling, which does give on pause about what run differential means as a predictive tool. September is often the time when teams that have been “punching above their weight” (I hate to say it but I saw that in the AJC) have problems. Obviously, the Phillies run differential probably doesn’t reflect the quality of the team at this moment because they are a much better team with Oswalt. Unfortunately, the Phillies appear to be better in all phases (except, possibly, the bullpen) than the Braves now that Hamels is pitching well again. I wouldn’t be surprised if McCann managed to get the first game of the WS in Philadelphia. ):

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