Braves 11, Giants 3
MVP: Matt Diaz. This is a case of a one-play wonder; his seventh-inning triple to break the 3-3 tie and put the Braves up for good was about his only contribution, but that was important enough by itself to earn him the game ball.
LVP: Brian McCann. You can tell it was a good day for the Bravos when the least valuable player was a guy that had a hit and an RBI. A strikeout and two groundouts piled up the negatives for him, and the game was already pretty much won by the time he had his RBI single in the seventh.
MIP: Matt Diaz's seventh-inning, two-RBI triple in the seventh to break the 5-3 tie. Chipper Jones' two-out third-inning homer to put the Braves up 3-2 is a very close second.
UotG: Offense. When you score eleven runs, pitching is usually irrelevant.
Gwinnett: Kelly Johnson's rehab assignment expires on Saturday, so decision time is coming for the Braves, but Kelly's making it as hard as possible, as he went 3-for-4 with two homers and seven--count 'em, seven--RBIs in this International League contest. Reid Gorecki continued his hot hitting (.356/.460/.603 in the last month) with three hits in four tries. I still think Clint Sammons plays good enough defense to be somebody's backup catcher someday, and he had two hits in this game as well.
On the pitching side, our old friend Buddy Carlyle pitched a scoreless inning to begin his rehab assignment (remember he was diagnosed with diabetes), striking out two. Todd Redmond followed him, and managed to give up six unearned runs in five innings (though one of the two errors that led to those runs was his own). Luis Valdez pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings for his 17th save.
Myrtle Beach: All but one offensive starter in this game had a hit, but only Cody Johnson had more than one (two singles). He got a mention from Baseball Prospectus' prospect guru Kevin Goldstein this week, who commented that Johnson's raw power scores a true 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale (and it's very rare to see scouts give 80s), but that he still has major obstacles to overcome in terms of his strikeouts and his lead glove in left field.
Erik Cordier got shellacked in this game, allowing seven runs (four earned) in 2 2/3 innings, but the bullpen, led by Craig Kimbrel's three hitless innings with seven strikeouts, didn't allow a run for the rest of the game.
Rome: As usual, the R-Braves mustered almost no offense. Only late-round pick Shayne Moody is even remotely hot these days (.347/.397/.417 over his last month), but as you can see from his line, his value is almost entirely wrapped up in his batting average. He was drafted out of college, so he's too old to be messing around in the Sally League if he wants to be a real prospect.
David Francis, who has bounced around between teams and roles, surrendered five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, and the bad version of Jekyll-and-Hyde Paul Clemens showed up in relief, as he allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Danville: Another solid offensive effort from Danville. L.V. Ware, after sucking at Rome, has hit .369 in the Appy League, and he went 2-for-5 with a triple and a stolen base in this contest. Cory Harrilchak was 2-for-5, and everybody's favorite name Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg had three more hits in five tries...he's up over 100 at-bats now and still north of .400. Prospect experts Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and Jim Callis of Baseball America have both warned not to get too excited about a hot start for a guy that's a little old to be playing short-season ball. He'll be fun to watch, but let's be careful about our expectations.
GCL: Multi-hit games here for speedy center fielder Kyle Rose (2-for-6), last year's Dominican Summer League stars Alberto Odreman (2-for-6) and Daniel Falcon (4-for-5), and promising Panamanian catcher Christian Bethancourt (2-for-6 with a double). Rose especially looks promising this season, as he's posted a .424 OBP to go with his .327 average, with nine walks to just eight strikeouts and eight stolen bases in 19 games. He's raw and he has some makeup questions, but he could prove to be an eighth-round steal if he lives up to his potential.