Giants 3 (63-47), Braves 2 (62-47)
WP: Lopez (3-2)
LP: Moylan (3-2)
SV: Wilson (32)
This loss should firmly fall on the shoulders of one man: Bobby Cox. His incompetent use of the bullpen in the 11th inning led to the Giants plating the winning run. Peter Moylan had not been effective in his first inning of work, the 10th: he allowed a pair of baserunners, but managed to erase them both with a caught stealing and a double play. Then, Bobby trots him out for the 11th...Moylan was inexplicably allowed to stay in after a pair of walks to lead off the inning. He got a ground ball to second, but it was hit too slow to get the double play. The ice cold Pablo Sandoval was intentionally walked (to set up the force at home, I presume)...and Pat Burrell got the fly ball the Giants needed to bring in what would end up being the winning run. Its a damn shame that this performance wasted a fantastic start by Tommy Hanson, who only allowed 1 run in 7 innings while only giving up 3 hits, walking 2, and striking out 3. Hanson was awesome tonight, and wasn't in any trouble at all aside from the first inning...which was mainly caused by Brian McCann's inability to throw out base stealers (though he has been better in that aspect this season). Jonny Venters was used for what seems like the 20th time this week, throwing a scoreless inning on only 10 pitches to set up Billy Wagner in the 9th. People will lambaste Wagner for this loss, but you can't put the blame on him. He started the inning by plunking Aubrey Huff, and got Buster Posey to get the grounder he needed...Alex Gonzalez fielded, and sloppily threw to second. EVERYBODY'S SAFE. 2 on, none out...Juan Uribe flew out to right for the first out, moving Huff to third. Then the aforementioned Sandoval came up, who grounded to Chipper...he tried to backhand for some reason, and of course, the ball went by him into left field. Damage done, tie game. Wagner allows an unearned run without allowing a hit. He'd get the DP he wanted 2 batters later, but you really cannot blame him for this. The Braves had *3* chances to get the DP that inning, and got it only on the last time.
The Braves offense struggled against Barry Zito, but it looked like the meager offense that the team put up would be enough...we know how well that turned out, though. The Braves would only get 8 batters on base all game...3 of which were one Mr Larry Wayne Jones Jr, who hit the go ahead homer in the 6th inning that I thought would stand. Chipper also hit a ground rule double to left and was left to die on second base in the 1st inning. Speaking of dying on second...Brian McCann led the 2nd off with a double. He wouldn't even make it to third base. The Braves first run of the night came an inning before Chipper's homer, in the 5th with an Alex Gonzalez solo shot. He had a good night despite the error that would play a key role in the 9th inning...1/3 with that homer and a walk. But he saw 24 pitches. Fantastic. Rick Ankiel also saw 20 pitches in his 4 plate appearances...he'd walk once and strike out 3 times. Gotta love the BIG ACQUISITION sucking sand and playing like...himself. Jason Heyward crapped the bed with an 0/5 night, blowing a chance in the 10th inning to be a hero after an Omar Infante single. Troy Glaus and Matt Diaz were both in the starting lineup, and looked like total space cadets out there, combining to go 0/9 with 3 strikeouts. One more "performance" I'd like to mention...7th inning, Zito is near the end of his rope and walks Gonzalez and Ankiel back to back with 2 outs to bring up the pitcher's spot. Melky Cabrera pinch hits. Instead of, you know, taking a pitch to see what Zito's got left...Cabrera hacks away on the first damn pitch and hits a lazy fly to right center to end the inning. Inning over, scoring threat over. Pathetic.
Guess what guys, the Phillies won again. The Braves lead is now a single game in the East. This is not a good thing, people.
Tomorrow is another night game, the third game in this four game set. Thankfully, Braves ace Tim Hudson takes the hill, while the Giants counter with the little talked about but terribly fantastic Matt Cain. Talk about a must-win...this will be it.
I may be going on a minor league scouting expedition since Gwinnett is playing an hour from my house tomorrow, and Brandon Beachy is pitching. I'll tweet what I end up doing...you know how it goes.