Braves 2, Pirates 1 (10)
WP: Scott Linebrink (4-2)
LP: Chris Leroux (1-1)
After a 19 inning game lasting nearly seven hours Tuesday night, the last thing anyone wanted was another extra inning game. With Atlanta putting together a line-up that would fight to be a middle of the pack Triple A team and the opposing pitchers (Jair Jurrjens and Paul Maholm) allowing few runs per start this year, prospects did not look good for a simple nine inning blow out.As Jurrjens held the Bucs scoreless to open the contest, Atlanta looked to finally jump on the board early. Martin Prado laced a liner into the left field corner and, after seeing in rattle around, attempted to stretch a double into a triple. This time Jerry Meals got the call correct as Prado was easily thrown out. The umpiring crew then got their mandatory make-up call, calling Freddie Freeman out on an infield grounder, despite replays showing him clearly safe. The Braves got the better of the wrong call exchange, if you ask me.
Heading into the second inning, it looked as though Tuesday night’s marathon was simply continuing into tonight’s match-up. Uggla lead-off the second with a double (extending his hitting streak to 18 games), but couldn’t score as the Braves went fly out, fly out, strikeout. Third inning, Alez Gonzalez lead-off with a single, to which Atlanta hitters went sacrifice bunt, ground out, pop out. If that wasn’t enough for you, Freddie Freeman led off the fourth with a double, followed by an Uggla single that Freeman wasn’t able to advance on. Fredi again called for the sacrifice bunt to set up a Wilkin Ramirez pop out and a Julio Lugo strikeout.
Jair Jurrjens continued to cruise (aided by a Prado to Ross throw out at home in the fourth) until the sixth inning when Garret Jones took the right-hander deep for a solo shot to right, putting the Pirates up 1-0. The Braves, needing to tie it to make all right in the universe, linked together three singles in the bottom of the inning, capped off by a David Ross RBI single that made it through the left side of the infield. Tied 1-1.
Recognizing the need to rest the ‘pen, Jurrjens stayed out for the seventh despite a relatively high pitch count. After Jurrjens walked Brandon Wood and struck out Eric Fryer, Maholm attempted to put down the sacrifice. Jurrjens then made a nifty play, allowing the pop bunt to drop in front of him (with Ross shouting instructions) and turning it around for a rare 1-6-4 double play.
But the two teams love close games SO much, they made it to the ninth inning still tied 1-1. Fredi displayed some smarts, bringing in the dominant Craig Kimbrel in the non-save situation. The Pirates promptly went fly out, strikeout, strikeout. Pretty standard for Kimbrel. In the bottom half of the inning, it looked as though Atlanta had a shot to end the game in regulation after Gonzalez’s two out double, but Eric Hinske struck out looking in his pinch hit appearance. Sooo, more extra innings!
After Freddie Freeman made a stellar play to double-up the Pirates to end the top of the tenth, Nate McLouth lead off the bottom half with single to right. Following Prado's fly out to right, Freeman moved McLouth over to third with his own single to right. An Uggla IBB loaded the bases for David Ross, who laced the first pitch he saw to former-Brave Matt Diaz in left, driving in the winning run...in ONLY ten innings!
Jair Jurrjens was impressive, going seven innngs with a 1 ER, 6 H, 4 K, 3 BB line in the no-decision. The offense was lead by Mr. Ross himself, who drove in both Atlanta runs, and Uggla and Freeman, who knocked out three hits each. The Braves go for the series victory tomorrow evening as veteran Derek Lowe takes the mound against Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia.