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The Braves were shut out for 7 innings by Josh Beckett. The Braves would get runners on base, but then forget how to hit with complete loss of strike zone recognition as they were too anxious.
Beckett (who hasn't given up a run against the Braves this year) was lifted for Antonio Alfonseca in the 8th inning, with the Marlins ahead 3-0.
Furcal doubled to lead off the inning, hustling to 2nd to beat Juan Pierre's weak arm. Giles singled past 3rd to score Furcal.
Marlins skipper Jack McKeon then went to his closer, Todd Jones, with nobody out and a runner on first in the 8th inning. I think it was a good move despite what happened. If you're going to lose, lose with your best pitchers.
Todd Jones has had an unreal year; he could win the Comeback Player of the Year. But tonight, he showed that he is still in fact Todd Jones.
Chipper singled to right and Giles went to 3rd. Andruw then walked on 4 pitches as the Marlins wanted no part of him. Bases loaded, nobody out.
LaRoche struck out on 3 pitches. Francoeur then hit into a near double-play, but beat the throw from 2nd base as Andruw took out Luis Castillo (who had just come in the game) on the throw while sliding into 2nd.
Giles scored to make it 3-2. Chipper went to 3rd base on Castillo's errant throw. Runners on the corners with 2 outs for Langerhans. He hit a ground ball up the middle into no man's land. Castillo had no play as his throw wasn't even close to beating Langerhans at first, and Chipper scored to tie the game. Francoeur went to 3rd. Brian McCann just missed a double down the right field line as it was just barely foul, but then lined it up the middle to score Francoeur and give the Braves the lead.
Farnsworth then blew them away in the 9th. I don't think anybody made contact.
You have to give John Smoltz credit. He had nothing tonight and pitched in pain. He gave up a cheap first inning run, and Carlos Delgado hit a 2 run homer in the 3rd. But Smoltz gritted through the pain and made it through 6 innings giving up those 3 runs; a quality start. He allowed 8 hits, walked 2, and struck out 6.
John Foster pitched a perfect 7th and Blaine Boyer (3-2) pitched a scoreless 8th.
Offensive contributors: Brian McCann was 2-4 with a double and the game-winning RBI. Rafael Furcal was 2-3 with a double, a walk, and scored. Jeff Francoeur was 1-3 with a walk, had an RBI, and scored. Andruw Jones was 1-3 with a walk.
The Phillies won a classic game themselves against Cincinnati. The Braves maintain a 4 game lead with 8 games left, and reduced the Magic Number to 5.
John Thomson will pitch tomorrow night against Brian Moehler. We need Thomson to step up as the 4th starter here at the end of the season, because Ramirez is struggling and doesn't look like he'll improve this year.