Braves 10 (70-49), Nationals 2 (51-68)
WP: Minor (1-0)
LP: Olsen (3-5)
The Braves offense sleepwalked through the first 5 innings of the game, then plated 10 runs in the final 3. Somehow, I'm not surprised at all by this. What I am terribly surprised by: the scoring was started in the 6th by...Diory Hernandez? Yes, thats right. The middling utility infielder hit his first homer of the year to left center to lead off the 6th to cut the Braves deficit to 2-1. Then Omar Infante doubled, Jason Heyward walked, and Scott Olsen got the hell off the mound. That brought up the returning Martin Prado, who doubled in Infante to tie the game. Cleanup hitter Matt Diaz stepped in (against a righty!) and doubled down the left field line to make it 4-2, and that was a lead the Braves wouldn't release. The team would get 4 more in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th to just beat the point home that they weren't screwing around anymore. Scott Olsen always turns into Cy Young against the Braves...and he did tonight for 5 innings. That 6th inning though, that was a killer. And the Nats bullpen that had made a habit of shutting the Braves down this season? They allowed 5 earned runs and 12 baserunners in 3 innings. God it feels good to beat the tar out of them. Prado was the star in his return to the lineup: 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Yeah, he was missed. Infante also had a couple hits and runs scored. Great all around performance by the offense in the late innings tonight.
Pitching? It was the Mike Minor show. He earned his first career win in his second career start. Minor threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings before allowing back to back doubles in the 6th to give Washington a 2-0 lead. He'd get out of the rest of the frame unscathed, and his offense would bail him out in the bottom half of the inning. Overall line for Minor? 6 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. Perfectly acceptable pitching. Can't complain about an effort like that in your second major league start. The bullpen held up their end of the bargain too, with Kyle Farnsworth, Takashi Saito, and Cristhian Martinez throwing 3 scoreless in relief of Minor to shut Washington down.
Philly won. Lead in the east is still 2.5
More news: Eric O'Flaherty threw a pair of scoreless innings tonight for Gwinnett, will get 2 days of rest, and will be activated on Friday. Missed having him in the pen. Looks like a farewell to Mike Dunn for a week and a half is in order. How awesome is the bullpen going to be once September 1st hits? Not only will Dunn be back up, Kenshin Kawakami will go back to sitting in the bullpen waiting for a starter to get hurt, and Craig Kimbrel and Stephen Marek should also get recalled. Both men have ERAs under 2.00 this season for Gwinnett and are striking out more than a batter per inning. Gonna be great for Jonny Venters and Billy Wagner to hopefully get some rest down the stretch.
Tomorrow's game: 7:10. Livan Hernandez vs Tim Hudson. Huddy's on the hill? Oh yeah, its on now. In his last 5 starts, Hudson is 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA. Yeah, the first digit of that ERA is a 0...I didn't make a typo. LOVE IT!