Win, win, win . . . .
Mike Minor wasn’t at his most efficient, struggling to command his pitches for much of the night, but he still managed to hold the Marlins scoreless in 5 2/3 innings of work, striking out four and walking just one. The offense exploded for a big inning, and that was more than enough to earn the win and complete the sweep against the truly pitiful Marlins.
The big inning came in the fifth, and it was really fun to watch. Jordan Schafer, starting in place of BJ Upton and batting eighth, got it going with a bunt single, then stole second on the next pitch and eventually came around to score on a single from Andrelton Simmons. A few batters later, with two on base, Evan Gattis unloaded on an inside pitch for one of those vintage-Gary-Sheffield laser-homers that appeared to still be rising as it sailed over the left-field wall. Then, Dan Uggla walked and Juan Francisco connected on his first mammo of the year, and the game was basically over. (They would tack on additional runs in the sixth and ninth.)
Jordan Shafer went 4-5, much to the surprise of anyone who’s seen him play baseball over the past few years. El Oso Blanco has three homers in 25 major-league plate appearances, for those keeping track. Meanwhile, Justin Upton did nothing — it was encouraging to see all those runs without any contribution from him. Cory Gearrin and Anthony Varvaro pitched very well in scoreless relief, but again: Marlins. Chip Caray remains completely incompetent.
Taking care of business against some bad teams has been nice to see, particularly with the cleanup hitter on the DL; Atlanta is now 8-1 and has a 1.5-game lead in the East. After tomorrow’s day off, the competition will get a bit stiffer, as the Braves will head to DC for their first series of the year against the Nationals. This is fun.