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francoeur-saves-the-day-2 | April | 2007 Articles

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Francoeur Saves The Day

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For the second straight game, the Braves experienced a rocky ninth inning, but some nice glove-work by Jeff Francoeur preserved the win for Chuck James. The offense was a bit strange today. Although Atlanta tallied up 17 hits off of seven different Rockies' pitchers, only four of them went for extra bases. The Braves left nine men on base, but powered by two Chipper Jones doubles, and a dinger from Craig Wilson and Andruw Jones, it was just enough to pull out the victory. Kelly Johnson, Edgar Renteria, and Chipper Jones went a combined 8/13 tonight and with all three now sporting batting averages at or above .320, it seems the bottom of the order may also be awakening from their slumber. Craig Wilson went 3/5 with a homer and both Langerhans and Scott Thorman drove balls to the deep outfield in their pinch-hitting appearances, although both went for outs. Production from the bottom, which has been basically non-existent so far, could mean big problems for opponents with the way the top of the order is already hitting. Pitching was not nearly as good as the offense, but at Coors Field, almost every game follows that trend. Chuck James looked great until he hit the sixth inning, when he gave up three hits and a run, then Tyler Yates got the call and after allowing both inherited runners to score, he got out of it without any more damage. Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, Schuerholz's two prized off-season acquisitions came on for the seventh and eighth innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and striking out two in their two combined innings. This is where it gets interesting though. As you know doubt have heard on every broadcast from Coors Field, no lead is safe. Bob Wickman was brought on in the ninth with a five-run lead and in two thirds of an inning he allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs before being removed. Steve Colyer then came in and walked Todd Helton, and then Peter Moylan got the call to face Matt Holliday, who smoked the first pitch out to deep right where Jeff Francoeur may have possibly saved the game with a great catch at the wall. The Brave reclaimed first with this victory and the Mets loss to the Nationals and will play tomorrow at 8:05 ET, with John Smoltz facing off against rookie Jason Hirsh. Kelly Meter: Kelly Johnson kept up his hot hitting, going 2/3 with two walks, three runs scored, and an RBI. This guy just keeps doing exactly what you want out of a leadoff hitter as he raised his line on the season to .320/.457/.574, as well as turning two more nice double plays. I do not have a single complaint about him and he is exceeding every expectation I had of him.

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