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Braves Finish the Sweep

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For the first time since 1994, the Braves have started the season 3-0 with a win today over the Phillies. The first two games of this series were low-scoring with only a bit of offense when the Braves needed it. This last game was exactly the opposite. Lots of runs and a pretty shaky looking pen. Despite a scare, the Braves did improve to 3-0 behind the excellent pitching of Chuck James. The Braves offense got started early, again behind the bat of Brian McCann who had a 2-Run bases loaded single in the first. The game really started to get interesting in the fifth though. With Chuck James on first after a walk, Kelly Johnson pounded his first hit this season into the right field bleachers, and then with two outs Andruw drove home Chipper, Francouer scored Andruw on a double, and then Scott Thorman again came through and doubled in Francouer and McCann, but was thrown out trying for third. That six-run 5th inning proved to be enough to support James, who threw 5 innings with 6 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts while allowing only one run. Head on to the ninth though, and the pen gave us a bit of last year. McBride walked three in his third of an inning, Paronto mixed in two bases-loaded walks with an Aaron Rowand strikeout (on a very questionable call), and then Soriano came in and with one pitch got Carlos Ruiz to pop up to Edgar Renteria. Interestingly enough, this is the first win registered by a Braves starter, and out of the three saves the pen has registered so far, only one is credited to Bob Wickman. Overall a little reassuring of the offense that seemed to be hanging on by a thread with just enough the past two games, and the fact that it was absolutely freezing quells my worries about McBride and Paronto's inability to throw strikes tonight. The Braves will fly back to Atlanta and meet the NL East rival New York Mets tomorrow at 7:35, where Mark Redman will take on Oliver Perez in the 2007 Braves home opener. Remember to visit braves-nation.com, where you can talk baseball and the Braves with myself as well as almost 300 other Braves fans.

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