WP: O'Flaherty (4-2)
LP: Nolasco (10-11)
SV: Kimbrel (44)
The Braves offense was as dead as a doornail for the first six innings of the game, tallying just a pair of hits against Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, who was excellent. Through six, he has walked just one hitter and struck out five. Nothing was going on. But in the seventh, magic happened. Freddie Freeman started the inning with a fly out, and Dan Uggla started the rally with a walk. Brian McCann singled to put runners on the corners with one out for the terribly slumping Martin Prado. Prado went unorthodox though, and laid down a perfect bunt. Uggla scored on the safety squeeze, and all hands were safe on base. Jason Heyward flied out, and that brought up Alex Gonzalez, who has been on a crazy roll during the Marlins series. Gonzalez then took an 0-2 pitch and slammed it over the fence in left field to give the Braves a 4-1 lead that they wouldn't relinquish in the game's final two innings. Gonzalez and Prado, the two heroes of the game, each had two hits. The team had five in total. You do the math there.
The rookie parade of starters continued today, with Randall Delgado making his fifth career start today. It was another impressive outing for him, as he went five innings, walked two, struck out four, and allowed just one run, on a solo homer by Greg Dobbs in the second inning. Aside from that Dobbs homer, Delgado never had any problems aside from a high pitch count, throwing 101 pitches over those five innings. The second inning was the only one where he had multiple runners on base. The Braves bullpen stepped up to the plate big time yet again, with Cristhian Martinez and the O'Ventbrel trio combining to throw four perfect innings, striking out five and geting five ground ball outs. At the end of the day...yeah, I'll take that.
The team's magic number is now down to nine, as the Cardinals won in Pittsburgh. The Braves have an off day tomorrow before welcoming the Mets to Turner Field for three. Game one will feature Derek Lowe taking on Chris Capuano. The Cardinals are also off tomorrow, so the maigc number will remain at nine for another day. The Braves will hopefully saw off a couple digits on that this weekend, as the Cardinals are going to Philly to take on the reigning NL East champions. One problem: Philly clinched a playoff berth today with a win over the Astros. They might start resting some guys, and put out a team that isn't built to beat St Louis's brains in. That's not a good thing at all. St Louis is scheduled to face Cole Hamels on Sunday and Roy Halladay on Monday, so maybe both of those guys will still get their full starts in and dominate the Cardinal to give the Braves some breathing room. Fingers are crossed.