Braves 7 (75-55), Marlins 6 (65-64)
WP: Saito (2-3)
LP: Nunez (4-3)
Here's a look at the Fangraphs WPA chart for this game.
After the Marlins batted in the top of the 8th inning, the Braves had a 1.6% chance to win the game. Then...magic happened. Jason Heyward walked to lead off the 8th. After a Martin Prado flyout, Brian McCann singled to right to put men on the corners for Eric Hinske. Hinske doubled in Heyward, and it was 6-2. Alex Gonzalez looked horrible striking out, and then Melky Cabrera hit a dribbler to Wes Helms at third...who threw it under Gaby Sanchez's glove. 2 runs scored, 6-4 game, and we've got magic. Brooks Conrad led off the 9th with a walk against Leo Nunez to bring up Matt Diaz, against a righty...but Diaz is OPSing .891 against the Fish this season...so what's Diaz do? Naturally, he deposits one in the right field seats. Tie game, all bets are off. Nunez got Heyward and Prado out to bring up McCann with 2 outs...and he hits one over the right field wall. Game over. Braves win. Dance in the streets for 6 runs in the 8th and 9th innings and yet another walk off victory.
Lets have some #realtalk for a minute here. The Braves played like tar today. Derek Lowe started and got absolutely shelled beyond belief. 3 innings, 6 hits, 5 earned, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, one huge homer to Hanley Ramirez, and meatballs across the plate that I could have hit to the warning track. He was pulled after those 3 innings and 78 pitches. Cristhian Martinez came in to relieve Lowe and put together an absolutely fantastic performance that the bullpen could have used Wednesday in Colorado: 4 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, no walks, and 2 strikeouts. I was just talking yesterday about how much of a surprise he's been this season, and he proved it in spades today. If Martinez went out and laid an egg, it could have gotten ugly. But he put his big boy pants on, and after a rough first inning where he allowed extra base hits to 2 of the first 3 batters he faced, Martinez set down the final 11 Marlins he faced in order. Jonny Venters loaded the bases in the 8th to make it interesting, but got through it scoreless, while the never-used Takashi Saito pitched a scoreless 9th to pick up the victory.
Offensively, it was touch and go all day. The Braves only had 7 hits, but walked 6 times against Marlins pitching. Josh Johnson started, and quite frankly...he was Josh Johnson-esque. 1 unearned run and 8 strikeouts in 6 innings of work, with 3 Braves hits and 3 walks. The Braves got runners on in the first 3 innings against JJ, but only got the 1 run. Then, the Marlins bullpen imploded, led by former Brave Will Ohman, who was the pitcher in the 8th for the slopfest the Marlins defense put out there. Walkoff hero Brian McCann was the heart of the offense, reaching 4 times and upping his OPS to a team-high .860 in the process. He's 9 for his last 16 with 3 extra base hits and 5 RBI. Eric Hinske got a spot start at first with Derrek Lee's pulled side keeping him out of the lineup, and he delivered, going 2/4 with a pair of RBI. Heyward also reached twice for the Braves...and that was really all. Prado went 0/5 with 3 strikeouts, while Alex Gonzalez went 0/4 with a pair of K's, and Rick Ankiel also hung an 0/4 day on the proceedings.
The Phillies game started an hour ago, so the lead will be 2 at its lowest at the end of that game...a Padres win would be huge after Philly picked up a game Friday in their win. The Braves will deal with the Mets for 4 at Turner Field this week, and tomorrow's pitching matchup will pit Jair Jurrjens, who got smothered in Colorado on Wednesday, against Pat Misch of the Mets. Misch has made 3 starts for the Mets this season, allowed 3 earned runs in 6 innings in each...and is 0-3. Gotta love that New York offense...