It took 10 innings, but the Braves beat the division rival Phillies today 5-3.† Not a bad way to open the season if you ask me.† After the first four innings, I was prepared to write about how Brian McCann single-handedly won the game offensively (at that point he had the only two hits).† However, by the end of 10, it was Edgar Renteria who was proclaimed the hero.
After McCann doubled in his first at-bat, he hit a 2-run homerun to put the first runs on the board in the fourth inning.† Jimmy Rollins answered with a solo shot in the fifth inning.† After retiring the dangerous Ryan Howard-Chase Utley combination in the bottom of the sixth, Smoltz gave up a single and a double to Wes Helms and Pat Burrell respectively.† When Aaron Rowand popped up behind second base, Kelly Johnson was unable to field the fly and both Helms and Burrell scored.† For those already worrying about KJ's defensive prowess, that was scored a single, not an error.† The Phillies then remained ahead 3-2 until the top of the eighth when Renteria got in a solo shot.† Flash forward to the top of the tenth, where KJ coaxed a walk (after going 0-4 with two strikeouts) just before Renteria stepped up to the plate to belt another homer, giving you your final score of 5-3.
In other offensive news, Chipper walked twice and singled.† McCann went 3-4 with the aforementioned double and homer.† And last but not least, Langerhans got in a single.†
As for pitching, Smoltz got in the best Opening Day start in his career, giving up 3 runs, eight hits and piling up seven strikeouts in his six innings of work.† Gonzalez scared me in the seventh when he gave up a walk and a hit to put†runners on second and third with no outs.† However, he redeemed himself with two strikeouts and a grounder to short that followed.† Rafael Soriano came in the eighth and gave up only a walk.† Wickman followed, a little shaky at first, but came out of the ninth unscathed after giving up a walk and allowing a hit.† The tenth brought in Chad Paronto who gave up nothing and had a strikeout.† Wickman came up with the win (thanks in part to Renteria, of course) and Paronto got the save.† Props to all the pitchers for strong outings.
And so it begins.† All I can say is that we're 1 win closer to the division title than the Phillies!