Folty was dominant, and he needed every bit of it as his mound opponent was Jack Flaherty, who was merely the best pitcher in the NL for the second half of the season. As with yesterday’s game the Braves scored in the bottom of the first. Ozzie Albies singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, went to third on Freddie Freeman‘s grounder to second, and scored on a two out single by Josh Donaldson. Somewhere in Mudville Joe Simpson has a big old grin on his mug.
The score stayed there for the next six innings, as Flaherty and Folty took turns tossing zeros up on the scoreboard. The Braves threatened in the 4th, when Nick Markakis and Matt Joyce singled to start the frame, with Nick taking third on the hit. But Brian McCann popped out and on a 3-2 count to Dansby Swanson, Snit started Joyce. Swanson whiffed and Markakis strayed a bit too far off third during the rundown, and Kolten Wong nailed him trying to get back to the bag for just your usual ho-hum 2-4-5 inning ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.
That move didn’t work out for Snit, but the next one he made most certainly did. In the bottom of the 7th, BMac singled with one down. After Dansby struck out, Adam Duvall pinch hit for Folty. At that point Mike had only thrown 83 pitches in the game and the bottom of the Cardinals line up was due, so it was certainly defensible to let Folty hit and pitch the 8th. But Snitker had Max Fried warming up, so he gambled on Duvall. Adam swung at the first pitch, a slider out of the zone, then took three balls. On 3-1 he swung over a nasty slider to run the count full. He fouled off a 3-2 slider then launched a 3-2 fastball that tailed back over the plate deep into left center for the 2 run dinger.
Fried was again tough in the 8th. He struck out Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader, mixing a 77 mph curveball with 98 mph heat. A two out pinch hit single by Jose Martinez was his only blemish, as he induced a soft line drive from Dexter Fowler to Ronald Acuna Jr. to end the frame.
So, Brian Snitker had made two questionable decisions so far in the game and was 1-1. He made his third by going to Mark Melancon to handle the 9th, one day after giving up the lead and game in Gm 1 and tossing 28 excruciating pitches in the process. Mark got Tommy Edman to ground into a 3-1 force to start the frame. But St. Louis mounted its only credible scoring threat next, as Paul Goldschmidt singled to left and Marcell Ozuna singled to right to put men on first and second with one down. Melancon got Yadier Molina to strike out on a 1-2 fastball that was outside and about shoulder high, and finished the game by striking out Kolten Wong on a nasty 2-2 curveball in the dirt.
So, we head to Birdtown tied at 1, with Mike Soroka getting the call Sunday. After the disappointment of Thursday’s game, Folty’s start may have been the best and in the biggest spot since Tom Glavine won Game 6 in the 95 World Series. Good on you Mike. Now let’s get our other Mike to match you.