Everybody knows what happens when the Braves start out slowly against a soft-tossing lefty: the lineup collectively curls up into the fetal position, the manager begins to “get creative,” and the hometown fans find themselves oddly, furtively, praying for rain. And so it seemed to be again, this time with the added indignity that the man to whom the Braves were showing themselves impotent bore a Dodgers uniform. As in, the Trolley Dodgers. As in, actually, the Los Angeles Trolley Dodgers. Because there is such a long and storied history of trolleys and streetcars in the greater Los Angeles area.

For 7 and 1/3 innings the Braves held true to form. Well into the 8th inning, the lineup that last night seemed so fearsome managed a mere four hits (and no walks) against Chris Capuano, the platonic ideal of pitcher who stymies the best the Braves ever boast.

But then something happened. Well, to be exact, three things happened. First, BJ Upton, a man whose OPS is almost in violation of standards first established by Warren Burger in Miller v. California, singled to left. Then Evan Gattis, no believer in tired narratives, mashed a go-ahead, pinch-hit home run. And finally Andrelton Simmons, the kind of leadoff hitter Dusty Baker used to like, hit an even longer home run to left. The Braves had taken a 3-1 lead, and Craig Kimbrel came in to seal the deal: which he did with a dominant ninth.

It’s nice for the Braves to win a game like this one for a number of reasons. It’s nice because Kris Medlen pitched a hell of a game – the lone run he surrendered was on a poorly played double by Justin Upton in the 4th – and it always sucks to spoil great starts. It’s also nice because (seemingly) for the past four weeks, the Braves have won the opening matchup in a given series and, in any number of ways, fallen apart thereafter. Tonight they obviously didn’t; tonight, in fact, they won the series, and that always feels good. But mostly it’s nice because the schedule is finally getting softer and the time seems ripe for this team to solidify its hold on the NL East. A night like tonight provided no fodder for the usual excuses – they’ve been on the road for awhile! the opponent is really good! the other team’s pitcher is Madison Bumgarner! – and thankfully, we don’t have to make any.

The Braves should have won tonight, and they won. Let’s enjoy that for a minute. Let’s enjoy that at least until tomorrow afternoon, when we’ll all obviously forget it and watch them go for the sweep against one Matt Magill.