If Paul Byrd calls a baseball game in a forest, and no one is tuned in, is he still stating and restating and restating the obvious?
The Braves jumped back into first place by continuing to do the one thing they do-beat the Natspos. This time it took extra frames, but the result was the same for the seventh time in eight meetings.
Mike Minor was as sharp as he has been all year. He clearly outpitched Stephen Strasburg, who, despite Byrd’s insistence that he pitched well, did not. Minor went seven innings, striking out 11 Nats in the process. He gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks. Strasburg meanwhile, continued to be troubled by Atlanta. He allowed four runs over six innings, on nine hits. Of course, this being the Braves, he did strike out 8.
Freddie Freeman opened the scoring in the first, smacking a two-out solo home run. Ian Desmond tied it up in the bottom of the second when he also homered. Minor does tend to give up his fair share of homers, but he seems to be able to usually let them be solo shots.
The Braves grabbed the lead back in the top of the fourth, with Andrelton Simmons’ single plating Chris Johnson. The lead was extended to 4-1 in the fifth, when Jason Heyward doubled in The Offense and Evan Gattis. As in the 4th, the Braves had three consecutive hits off Strasburg to score. Maybe this not striking out thing works? Alert Greg Walker! Oso Blanco’s hit extended his hitting streak to 19 games, and, as Byrd mentioned roughly 1,862 times, set the record for a Braves catcher’s hit streak.
Minor ran into a spot of trouble in the seventh. Danny Espinosa led off with a single, and a passed ball moved him to second. Jose Lobaton hit an absolute textbook double play ground ball to Regression, who could only get the out at first. That came back to bite the Braves when Denard Span tripled in Espinosa with two outs to make it 4-2. Anthony Rendon popped out to end the threat, however.
Craig Kimbrel blew his fourth save of the year in the ninth. A lead off walk to Nate McLouth led to Rendon’s two run homer to tie the game. Jayson Werth walked with two outs, and the only reason the game didn’t end on a Laroche double down the line was that Freeman was holding Grizzly Adams on first, and he snagged the screaming ground ball to end the threat.
The Original Fredi G. then turned it over to the newest Braves in extras. Welcome to the Show, Juan Jaime and Ryan Buchter! Jaime pitched the 11th, and Buchter pitched the 12th (and earned the win), I’d say both pitched well, but I fell asleep in the top of the 12th. I can report that Jaime was throwing hard, striking out two men. Buchter struck out one, and got Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a double play.
In the bottom of the 13th, the play-by-play reports that B.J. Upton walked. I think the ESPN guy must have fallen asleep too, as I find that hard to believe. The Offense singled him to third, and Gattis drove him in with a single. That, I can believe. The Defense then had a run scoring ground out for the final margin. Since I didn’t see it, I’m going to say he legged out a slow roller that the Nats couldn’t turn into a DP, with Regression executing a perfect take out slide at second. Hey, if ESPN can claim BJ walked I’m entitled to some literary license.