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None of the Braves players may want to say it (because they're modest like that), but I'm saying it:† right now, the Braves are the team to beat in the NL East!† After taking 2 out of 3 from the Mets, the Braves stand in first place in the NL East for the first time in over a year.†
First, Davies looked terrific today - far better than I'd hoped for or expected.† In 6 and 2/3rds innings, he allowed two earned runs, four hits, had†eight strikeouts and†three walks.† After today, I feel comfortable having either him or Cormier as the fifth starter.† I'm actually beginning to think one of them could start and the other could be a long reliever, although I'm not sure which would be which.† That aside, today's game also saw Paronto, Gonzalez, Soriano and Wickman out of the pen.† Paronto came in and got the third out of the†seventh inning.† Gonzalez came in and struggled in the eighth, allowing two hits to put runners on base.† Soriano bailed him out, throwing two pitches to get the third out of the inning.† I'm beginning to really love Soriano.† He got his first win after the Braves finally pulled ahead in the bottom of the eighth (more on that in a minute).† Wickman came in to seal the deal in the ninth, and get the save,†and faced only three batters, striking out the last on three called strikes.† Wickman may not be flashy, but he comes in and gets the job done.
As for offense, Kelly Johnson put the first run on the board, knocking the first Mets pitch of the game over the fence.† Unfortunately, Davies gave up back-to-back homeruns in the second inning, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead.† It would take until the bottom of the eighth for the Braves to pull ahead.† Chipper, McCann and Francouer each doubled to bring the score to 3-2 in the Braves favor.† Both McCann and Francouer pulled into the opposite field, and Francouer forced Heilman to throw seven pitches before he doubled.† I agree with the announcers that it was quite possibly Francouer's best Major League at-bat.†
The Braves†would then†hold onto this lead and take 2 of 3 from the Mets to move into first place in the NL East.† There's no better Easter present they could have given me.† Go Braves!