WP: Batista (2-1)
LP: Kimbrel (0-1)
SV: Salas (2)
Sigh. Another blown lead. Two steps backwards after a great end to the road trip. The Braves led 2-0 through seven, and looked like they would cruise to a win. Fredi left Brandon Beachy in for the eighth inning, and pulled him after Brandon allowed the first two runners to reach. Jonny Venters was brought in, and he got two quick outs before allowing a two run single to David Freese to tie the game. After putting two on with one out, the Braves came away empty handed in the bottom of the eighth. And then, the ninth inning. Craig Kimbrel was brought in, and for the second straight game, he didn't have it. After a single by Matt Holliday, a strikeout, and a passed ball, Gerald Laird tripled Holliday in. Yes, that's *catcher* Gerald Laird. An intentional walk ended the day for Kimbrel, and George Sherill got through the rest of the inning alive. Nate McLouth reached base in the ninth on a walk, but Eric Hinske flew out to end the game. Ho hum, another late innings loss.
Beachy was excellent, even with the eighth inning (that he probably shouldn't have started in the first place). Seven innings, only three hits, the two runs, the one walk, and five strikeouts. That's a damn good start, no matter how you slice it. This one falls (again) on the slumping offense, as they should have been able to score more than two runs in a game where they walked five times. The team stranded seven, and had only three extra base hits, all doubles. Martin Prado led off the game with a double, and ran into an out on a Heyward grounder. Heyward was thrown out during Chipper's at bat, and then Chipper walked. So the Braves first three hitters of the game reached base, and they got zero runs. Sounds about right. Jake Westbrook was outpitched by Beachy, but his team gets the win. It's depressing to think about.
The Braves look to avoid the sweep tomorrow against the Cardinals, as they send Speed Racer Derek Lowe to the hill against a man who's been the Cardinals best pitcher through the first month of the season, Jaime Garcia. With the way the offense has gone so far this series, three runs could win the game.