Marlins 7 (69-66), Braves 6 (79-58)
WP: Badenhop (2-5)
LP: O'Flaherty (3-2)
So close, yet so far. The Braves dug themselves a 6-0 after 3 innings due to overall ineffectiveness by Mike Minor, managed to battle back and tie it...only to lose the game in extras thanks to some Melkfence. We'll talk about the pitching first...Mike Minor just had an awful go of things before he got his 7th out, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits. He set down 6 of the final 7 he faced though, striking out 4 of them. If he had just managed to pitch like THAT all game, we wouldn't have been in this situation to begin with. But alas...the bullpen was fantastic in relief of Minor, shutting out the Marlins through 5 innings, allowing only 3 baserunners and striking out 7. Then the bottom of the 10th started...the terrible Emilio Bonifacio, who the Braves just cannot seem to get out, hit a grounder to the gap that got under Melky Cabrera's glove, sending him to third with none out. That would pretty much be all. Scott Cousins, pinch hitting for Logan Morrison who got smoked in the face with a line drive during Bonifacio's at bat, drove him in with a ball off the wall. Game over. Sloppy Cabrera defense once again dooms the Braves.
It shouldn't have been that way though, because the Braves had chances after battling back to tie the game with 6 straight runs. The damage was done after a rain delay in the 6th inning, when the Braves plated 5 runs on a pair of bases loaded walks, a Troy Glaus single, and a 2-run Nate McLouth sac fly, on a ball that was pulled back from over the fence by Cameron Maybin...if Maybin isn't in center, that ball is outta here, and we're talking about a win right now. But alas. Props to Diory Hernandez for scoring on the fly ball from second base...real heads up baserunning. The Braves had chances...they put 2 men on in the 9th, and Jason Heyward got ahead in the count 3-0. He hacked away, and grounded out to first to end the inning. Derrek Lee doubled in the 10th and would be stranded, as Alex Gonzalez lined back to the mound to end the inning. It wasn't a pretty offensive day really...Gonzalez and Omar Infante were the only Braves to reach base twice, each with a pair of hits. Heyward struck out 3 times, and looked sloppy in doing it. McLouth had 3 RBI and pounded the hell out of the ball in all of his at bats...could be a sign of things to come.
Lead in the east is down to half a game, but Philly is losing 5-2 in the bottom of the 8th...would love to see Milwaukee hang on and get the win.
Tomorrow, the Braves get what the doctor ordered: an all expenses paid trip to home of the 90-loss Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park! I may be going to the game...not totally sure. Pitching matchup is Tommy Hanson vs Brian Burres. Notes about tomorrow...the last day of the minor league season is actually tomorrow, so I'll postpone the Weekly Prospect Report until Tuesday. If I do go to the game, HOT or NOT will be up later in the day along with the recap. If I don't go...normal times.