As Paul discussed in the last entry, the Braves swept the Nationals and have a 3 game lead in the NL East. 21 year old Jeff Francoeur had a great day, going 2-4 with 2 homers, and now has 18 for the season (including his numbers at Mississippi).
The Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead including a 3 run 4th inning, and hung on from there. Jorge Sosa (6-1) had another good start, before the stifling heat tired him. He left the game after five plus innings, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Jay Powell, Jim Brower, Dan Kolb, and Macay McBride struggled to hang on to get the ball to Reitsma, who shut the door again with a 1-2-3 9th inning for his 12th save.
Brower and Kolb in particular got into jams, with Brower giving up a 2 run homer to Jose Vidro and Kolb getting into an 8th inning jam before Macay McBride got out of it. I don't know if Blaine Boyer is hurt, but it's strange that he hasn't pitched lately despite being very effective. I wouldn't be surprised to see a trade for a veteran set-up man at the deadline.
The Braves got their first run when Rafael Furcal led off the third with a triple and scored on a Chipper Jones fielder's choice. Vinny Castilla tried to throw out Furcal at the plate, but catcher Brian Schneider couldn't handle it on an error.
They scored the 3 runs in the 4th when Francoeur hit his first homer, and Marcus Giles hit a 2 run double. They added the final run in the 6th when Francoeur hit another shot, and the last homer turned out to be the difference in the game.
Offensive contributors: Francoeur, being 2-4 with the 2 homers. Rafael Furcal was 3-3 with a triple, walked twice, and scored twice. Marcus Giles was 2-4 with a double, walk, and 2 RBIs. Ryan Langerhans was 2-3 with a walk and scored.
The Braves will now host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4 game series. Horacio Ramirez will face Dave Williams in the opener tomorrow night.