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Braves 4, Rockies 0

Braves 4, Rockies 0

The wind was blowing in at Coors Field, but it didn’t make the Braves shutout any less impressive, as Nick Markakis, Dansby Swanson, and Ozzie Albies all tamed it with solo home runs.  Sean Newcomb went 6+ strong innings, allowing 5 hits and 0 (!) walks, along with piling up 9 strikeouts.

Newcomb started a double play in the first to help him dance around 3 Rockies hits; the Rockies didn’t touch him again until back to back singles to start the 7th.  Shane Carle‘s fun story continues, as he induced a double play and a fly out to finish the 7th, and to keep Newcomb’s line clean.  Sam Freeman got his man in the 8th, plus one more, the first with the help of an into-the-stands diving catch by Charlie Culberson, which you undoubtedly will be able to see on the highlight show of your choice.  Arodys Vizcaino finished up uneventfully in a non-save situation.

Albies also hit a scorching double into the left center field gap accounting for the Braves other RBI.  The Braves take the series, and they raise their record to 6 – 3.

The Braves fast start may slow the brakes on the Ronald Acuna rumors.  It was widely assumed that under the tutelage of our miracle workers at Gwinnett, that Acuna would need little more than a week in order to acquire the seasoning he lacks in order to be ready to join the major league team.  Micro sample size notwithstanding, the day is still fast approaching.

It’s just old Lane, and Lane’s waiting on the judgment day
“Well, Lane my friend, what about young Anibal?”
He said “Do me a favor son, won’t you stay and keep Anibal company?”

At Washington on Monday.  Natspos delenda est.

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Xanadu…Walk Off Loss…Colorado 3 Braves 2.

Xanadu…Walk Off Loss…Colorado 3 Braves 2.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

a stately Pleasure Dome decree

where Alph the sacred river ran

through caverns measureless to man

down to a sunless sea.


Why fool with verse?  That’s why, see above. Even a rather nasty 15 y. old can be stirred by that and have his life start to change.

And where do our Braves come into all this?  Don’t you feel the cold running through it? Underground caverns full of icy mountain water. And flowing where? Down to a sunless sea. It was COLD. We are in Colorado. It should be cold.

And this. Rocky Mountain High. Coleridge was about the first major poet to admit he was an habitual opium user. He knew high…. So, to the game.


FIRST. We wasted a ringing lead off double from Ender- Ozzie, Freddie and Neck disappoint.

Sanchez issues a 2 out walk to Arenado but no problem.

SECOND. It must be the weather – it’s warm – we go quietly 1/2/3. Bettis likes the Braves and it’s showing.

Parra with a one out single, left stranded. It’s 57 degrees for pete’s sake, now they tell us.

THIRD. A  5/4/3 DP ends our effort after catcher single.

Charlie Blackmon scores the games first run, driven in by Arenado. Perez throws him out.   Colorado 1-0

FOURTH   Ozzie lines out to right. Neck a 2 out single, the great Tucker makes the final out. Philly leads Miami 20-1.

Story with a 2 out solo  homer to left. Colorado 2-0.

FIFTH  After a lead of walk to Dansby was wiped out with a DP, nothing. For the first team this season Acuna would not have been superfluous to our offense. We are having the usual problems with Bettis and look thin.

Great work by Sanchez. With runners on first and third, one out, he completed striking out the side. I think he’s a good guy to have around, great change up.


With one out Ozzie is called out at first on a challenged call  when he appeared to be safe but FF came up and doubled to left center driving in pinch runner Lane Adams. If Ozzie had been successful in his challenge he would have tied the game. Tucker came up with 2 out, 2 on, again hit the ball hard but right at second.   Colorado 2 – 1.

Sam Freeman pitching. He walks one, strikes out two. Nothing doing.

SEVENTH.. Brian Shaw pitching. Perez hits into his second double play to close out the innings.

Winkler comes on in relief of Sam, strikes out Arenado to close out the innings.

EIGHTH.. McGee on to pitch, shuts us down.

Winkler continues, gives up nothing, great defensive play by Ozzie.

NINTH   Wayne Davis goes for the kill. If I could remember everything that happened in the top of the ninth and by whom it would be written down. Suffice it to say we tied the game after a one out walk and a single by Dansby led Flaherty to drive in the tying run. We were unable to take the lead but we got Davis out of the game.

After they put two on with no outs we were bailed out by Blackmon’s inability to get a bunt down but, more particularly, a phenomenal diving catch by Ozzie producing a double play. Minter not impressive.

TENTH..We got Ozzie to third with the go ahead run and two out. Nick hit a bona fide line drive over short stop which Story made a great leaping drive to catch.

A great game ends anti-climatically when with bases loaded and two out Vizzy couldn’t re-find his control and walked in the winning run on four straight pitches. Wow.     FINAL   COLORADO 3   BRAVES 2



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Mother Nature 24, Atlanta 8, Colorado 3

Mother Nature 24, Atlanta 8, Colorado 3

Atlanta traveled to Denver to face Colorado in the Rockies’ home opener. After a two+ hour snow delay, a 24 degree first pitch temparature, and the ceremonial first pitch by the corpse of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Bravo’s bats wasted no time heating up. Ozzie Albies started the scoring with a one out solo shot in the top of the first. Freddie Freeman followed with his 314th walk of the young season as Rockies pitcher German Marquez pitched around FabFiveFreddie. That’s not the worst idea, but when you follow that with a walk to Nick Markakis, things can spiral out of control. Which they did in the most Coors Field-ish of fashions. A Kurt Suzuki bloop single in the Bermuda Triangle between short, left, and center loaded the bases. Preston Tucker cracked a line drive sac fly to center, scoring Freeman, and Dansby Swanson cleared the bases with a two out triple. Marquez intentionally walked Ryan Flaherty, and managed to retire Brandon McCarthy to end the first. Gotta love having your pitcher end the top of the first.

McCarthy issued a lead-off walk of his own in the bottom of the frame, issuing a free pass to Charlie Blackmon. After Nolan Arenado hit into a fielder’s choice, he scored on a two out Carlos Gonzalez triple. McCarthy worked the second and third without incident, but in the fourth, he got his gopherball on, allowing dingers to CarGo and Trevor Story to cut the lead to 4-3. The key was that they were solo shots, which almost everyone will give up in Colorado. Just make sure you don’t put anyone on in front of them via the base on balls, and you can recover. Which, McCarthy did, and he would go on to redeem himself in the fifth.

The Braves started the second of the decisive frames in the fifth with a two out walk to Tucker, Swanson doubled him home (his third hit of the game), and after another intentional pass to Flaherty, McCarthy doubled up the right-center gap and it was 7-3. Atlanta completed the scoring in the 6th when Freeman singled home Ozzie, who had doubled.

McCarthy became the first Atlanta starter to go 6, finishing with a flourish, as he struck out the side to end his day, after throwing 88 pitches and giving up 3 runs – which in Coors against the hitters Colorado can run out there, you’ll happily take every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The bullpen didn’t allow much drama in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, and Lt. Dans JUUUST missed the cycle when he flied out to the wall in the 7th.

Anyway, there’s a heat wave scheduled for tomorrow, with highs forecast to be about 38 whole degrees Fahrenheit. Probably a local climate change induced by the sizzling Braves’ bats. Anyway, Our Heroes are 3 over .500 for the first time since May 2015 when they were 8-5. I can get used to this.

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Down on The Farm – Minor League Rosters Announced

Down on The Farm – Minor League Rosters Announced

Minor league affiliates start today and tomorrow, so we’re starting to see rosters.

Gwinnett Strippers Roster

Nothing incredibly surprising with who is on the roster. Mike Soroka, Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair, Kolby Allard, and Lucas Sims appear to be the rotation with no real relief prospects to speak of unless you consider pitchers like Jesse Biddle or Philip Pfeifer prospects. Rio Ruiz and Dustin Peterson are your prospects to watch on the position player side. Oh, and Ronald Acuna Jr. manages to crack the roster. Hopefully he can hold his own.

Mississippi Braves Roster

The rotation is pretty stacked considering the quality both above and below it in the system. Kyle Wright is obviously your headliner prospect and begins his first stint at AA. Max Fried repeats AA after struggling at AA for most of last year. Tyler Pike, Touki Toussaint, and Ricardo Sanchez round out the rotation. Really a solid rotation. Watch for Adam McCreery, Corbin Clouse, and Josh Graham out of the pen. The position player side is also very talented. Alex Jackson will be behind the plate, Austin Riley will man third base, and Travis Demeritte is now listed as an outfielder on the roster. Tyler Neslony, a college draft pick sleeper, will also be at AA.

Florida Fire Frogs Roster

More studs in the rotation: Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz, Bryse Wilson, Tucker Davidson, and Jeremy Walker. I can’t decide which rotation I like the most. It’s noteworthy that Mauricio Cabrera, who we saw in 2016 at the major league level able to dial it up 102mph+, will begin the year at A+. Drew Harrington doesn’t seem to have a spot in the rotation, so I suppose we either see a 6-man rotation at times, or he gets some work in long relief. Brett Cumberland and Cristian Pache highlight the position players prospect, and another interesting position change is Braxton Davidson listed as a first baseman.

This will be yet another year where you can check the box scores on a nightly basis to see at least one, if not three, starting pitching prospects toeing the rubber for A+ through AAA. Our position player prospect depth is starting to catch up to the pitching side too, so there’s plenty to watch this year!

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Braves 7, Nats 1 (by JonathanF)

Braves 7, Nats 1 (by JonathanF)

So I retired on February 1st and shortly thereafter, in an attempt to “give back,” agreed to provide recaps of Wednesday games. Appropriately enough, the first of these turns out to be a “Businessman’s Special,” a 12:10 get-out-of-town start that, when I was working, was the sort of game I forgot about altogether. As a former Businessman, I just assume that Businessman’s Special means “can be safely ignored.” Better was Skip Caray’s definition: “the day that 40 year old executives bring their 26 year old daughters to see our Braves.” Somehow my business career missed both this and the three martini lunch.

Like tfloyd, I didn’t come to the Braves. They came to me in 1966. Not Atlanta – Me. Aaron, Alou, Carty, Mathews, Torre, Cloninger and Lemaster apparently had as their mission the capture of a 10 year old mind. Against those gods that bestrode the planet, today’s competitors are well-intentioned impostors. So when the retired guy yells at the screen: “Kids, get off my field,” I mean the parking lot next to Turner Field, not the expansion of Cumberland Mall (where I perfected my video game technique when it opened, but that’s another story.) I tell you all this just to let you know where my Wednesday recaps will be coming from.

The Braves’ sixth game in 1966 was played in Philadelphia before 7,476 paying spectators. The game featured 4 HOFers and one guy a lot of people think would have been if he’d played the HOF game, Dick Allen. The Braves won 3-1 to bring their record to 2-4. Pitching for the Phillies was HOFer Jim Bunning, who, to bring this around to today, is the 10th closest to Max Scherzer in age 32 Similarity Score.

The sixth Braves game in 2018 found 29,834 spectators. Scherzer was not at the top of his game, but he had defensive assistance. In the bottom of the first, a Difo error allowed Preston Tucker to hit a wall-scraping three-run homer. Preston Tucker is easily the best Tucker we’ve had since Michael. He may well be the best Tucker in MLB history. Thurman Tucker had a year as an All Star, but it was 1944. In the second inning Scherzer got an RBI, but Folty responded with a two-run double. The critical game moment came in the top of the 6th: after one-out double, Moylan replaced Folty and sandwiched an out between a couple of walks leading to Freeman (Sam, that is) facing Zimmerman with the bases loaded and two outs. Called strike 3 on a call that could have gone either way silenced the only real remaining threat.

Minter goes 1-2-3 but stays in to face the Mormon Mahatma (Harper) and walks him, then faces Mountain Matt (Adams) but gets him to fly out. Winkler gives up a walk and gets Difo.

Two more runs in the eighth when Lane Adams walks and is doubled home by Ryan Flaherty, who then scores from second base on a two-base passed ball. Flaherty is not the best Flaherty in MLB history – yet, but he’s definitely closing in on John. Arodys did that thing a Closer™ does when not eligible for a save, giving up a walk and a single and a walk to load the bases for Harper: people say he’s talented, but even he can’t hit a 6 run homer…. and he didn’t. An legitimate application of the Infield Fly Rule followed (I’m still not over that) and Mt. Adams struck out to end it.

It wouldn’t be a JonathanF recap without a mention of Chip. I’ve mellowed post-retirement, but Chip remarking how “all of us remember that awful day 50 years ago” is odd. Chip is 53. He doesn’t.

Braves lead MLB in runs scored. They’re 4-2. I’m Tuckered out. Time for a nap.

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Washington 6, Braves WAIT, WHAT?!

Washington 6, Braves WAIT, WHAT?!

A few quick notes before we get deep into this thing. First, I am currently on the road for work. Specifically, I am in visiting my company’s home offices in Boston this week. So, ya know? You want a recap of the Red Sox or Yankees games, both of which were showing on side-by-side screens at the bar last night, I’m totally our guy! You want a recap of this Braves team’s offense somehow muscling up for double digit runs for the second time in five games?! Dudes. Lady-dudes. I got nothing.

I mean, so far this season, both of Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies have been horrible. Freddie Freeman has seen all of 6 actual quality pitches to hit with Neck Paddycakes hitting behind him. Dansbo is putting up a pedestrian 727 OPS, which only seems good because of how terrible he was last year. And the starting pitching has sucked hard enough to pull golf balls through a water hose. And yet, still…

Freddie has crushed every single one of those six pitches, and has patiently walked otherwise. He’s OPS’ing over 1500 regardless, because, sure. Why not. Obviously that’s helped by Paddycakes himself popping a 1000+ literally out of no where, and Preston Tucker… I mean, PRESTON TUCKER is hitting 421/421/684. RYAN FLAHERTY is hitting 474/545/632.

It won’t last, of course. This is so many clear cases of Small Sample Size Theater it’s not even funny. Except, you know. It’s totally funny! These things happen. It’s nice to have it happen in our favor for a change. Wins count all season long even if they’re riding the Tucker-Flaherty Express.

And hell, who knows? Random slap hitting defensive infielders showing up and magically crushing the ball out of nowhere might stick! It’s happened before!

Anyway. Last night, from what I can tell via the online play by play recap, Julio was horrib-terrib-horrific-a-bad. Again. Did that Julio thing where he got slapped around SunTrust like a red headed stepchild. Domestic violence is funny if they’re a ginger.

2.1 innings, six runs. Gopher balls that themselves hit more gopher balls on their screaming, supersonic flights out of the stadium. You know. Your classic Julioing up of the joint. Bryce Harper hit baseballs very, very hard. AND WE WON ANYWAY. Preston Tucker’s insanely gigantic inhumanly large ears totally covered for him.

Look. Like I said. I don’t know. I was in Boston. The second screen was showing Didi Gregorious. I drank and read a book and forgot to watch the season premier of Legion on FX.

The Braves won, are 3-2, have crushed the ball this year, and with a win tonight would move back into an early tie for the division lead. Also, we’re only 10 days out from Acuna Day.

At this point in 1991 Houston’s Al Osuna had just out-dueled Kent Merker, dropping Atlanta to 2-3. Some rookie nobody named Curt Schilling got the save. Terry Pendleton wasn’t acquired for his bat.

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The posterior upon us: Braves 1, gNats 8

The posterior upon us: Braves 1, gNats 8

I guess the theme for this year will be quotes and statements from the famous, the infamous, and, occasionally, the barely known.

Today’s quote to summarize our game last night comes from a noted American philosopher of the late 20th century. He rose from humble beginnings to be known and loved by millions. His name is Richard Pryor.

In one of his famous comedy routines (NONE are so famous or so oft repeated by those near my age than “Little Tiny Feet” in which Richard appears as Mudbones and describes an encounter with a voodoo priestess, but I digress), Richard describes the process of Vietnamese refugees being trained to be “good Americans.” They are being led in how to state a most famous racial epithet. Eventually their “drill sergeant” says “If you get your ass kicked, you know you made it.” Such was Monday April 2, 2018 for the Atlanta Braves.

For 3 years we have known that command and control would be the issue for Sean Newcomb. This spring, he seemed to cut down the walks and place the pitches a little closer to ideal spots. Well, at this point in the season, he hasn’t done that so well in the games that count. I definitely am heartened that this is the first bad start the Braves have had this year. But 4 and a third with 4 walks won’t cut it. Down 6 to 1 after 5 doesn’t often turn into a win (unless Gabe Kapler is the opposing manager).

Meanwhile, another barely tolerable Major League starter once again showed his dominance of the Braves lineup. Tanner Roark pitched 7 innings (really. Is that possible?) He got 6 strikeouts and gave up 1 walk and 4 hits. You reckon that might be enough to win a game? Obviously there were no offensive stars in such a game.

After Newcomb the pen did fairly well until Jose Ramirez poured napalm upon the mound and began striking matches to see what would happen. Sam Freeman closed the door to keep it at 8 to 1.

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Remembrance of Rusty Staub

Remembrance of Rusty Staub

Editor’s Note: Frequent reader and first-time contributor Kirk H. covers our off-day with memories of the first baseball game he saw in-person. Perfect way to pass an off-day.

In all the excitement of opening day, you may not have noticed that Le Grand Orange died that same day just shy of his 74th birthday. Rusty had an excellent career, and while not quite a Hall-of-Famer certainly qualified for the Hall of Very Good. He played on five different teams, most notably the Astros, Expos, and Mets, with good on base skills and some pop (career OPS+ 124). Jonah Keri, noted Expo fan, has a great retrospective on his baseball exploits, fan outreach, and charitable work here:

In Memory of Rusty Staub

While there isn’t really a Braves connection, his passing did stir memories of my first experiences seeing major league baseball in person as a young kid over 50 years ago (has it really been that long? Crap, I’m getting old). I grew up in a small town in south central Louisiana, in the heart of sugar, hot sauce, and salt country. The cultural highlight was the annual Sugar Cane Festival held every September to celebrate the harvest. Music was whatever they played on the local AM radio station. Sports was mostly high school football and basketball, with a dose of LSU Tiger football radio broadcasts in the fall. So it was with great excitement that I looked forward to my family’s more-or-less annual trip to Houston during the summers. It was about a four hour drive, but a world away from my hometown. It had everything. A huge shopping mall where you could actually go from shop to shop while remaining indoors, with an honest to goodness ice skating rink right there in the middle (whoever heard of such a thing). A great amusement park with all sorts of rides that made me sick to my stomach. And best of all, professional sports teams (the Houston Oilers and Houston Astros) that played in this totally awesome stadium called the Astrodome. They called it “the 8th Wonder of the World”, and it sure seemed that way to me. It was gigantic and new and modern, and they played ball *inside*. It had this brand new artificial grass they called “astoturf” since the real stuff wouldn’t grow. And it had this way cool animated scoreboard that was unlike anything else I had ever seen. They played all kinds of comic video shorts, making fun of the other team or inciting the crowd to cheer. But the best thing was that whenever an Astro hit a home run, it put on this fantastic display with bulls snorting and cowboys firing off their six shooters and simulated fireworks going off. It was amazing.

During one of our summer trips when I was maybe 9 years old, we caught a game where my greatest memory is of Rusty Staub hitting not one but two homeruns. I couldn’t get enough of that scoreboard home run show. I remember my parents wanting to leave early, and me begging them to stay in case he hit another one. But the Astros were behind pretty big, and I lost the case. Next day I found out that in fact the Astros *did* hit another homerun (although it wasn’t Staub). I was pissed I didn’t get to see the scoreboard go off again.

With the miracle of Baseball Reference, I was able to track down that game. It was August 19, 1967. The St. Louis Cardinals were in town in the midst of an excellent season where they would go on to win 101 games, the NL pennant, and the World Series over the Red Sox. The Astros had some very good players besides Staub, like Joe Morgan and Jimmy Wynn, but still they were in the dregs of the league. Staub had a fantastic game, with a double and the two homers. Joe Morgan had a double. Doug Rader had the 9th inning homer that I missed.

It was cool to relive that memory. RIP Rusty.

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You bet we are. Don’t mess with the Braves on a Saturday night at home.

We spotted them 2 -it seemed to matter then – but soon we were off to the races. 15 unanswered runs thoroughly embarrassing our wretched opponents. Those runs were spread pretty evenly but for a 4 and 5 spot so I’m not going to go through it in repetitive sequence. What should be much more fun is to pick stuff out as it occurs to me, at random, and hope that may bring back good memories for all.

Our starting pitching first, primarily a fine debut from Mr Brandon McCarthy who pitched into the sixth inning giving up 6 hits 2 earned runs 3 walks and striking out 6. We could not have asked for more particularly so when you remember the top of the first, two out, two runs scored, two on in scoring position, full count. He got the crucial strike out that stopped 2 runs becoming 4 and although we didn’t know it then we were on cruise control.

With Brandon gone Winkler, Solocovitch and Ravin followed for the last 3.2 innings, no hits, no runs, one walk, 4 strike outs. Pretty amazing stuff when you compare it to what was happening from the other dugout. Who knew who these guys were, not me.


So now to our hitters, the regulars first.

Ender…3 for 6, 4 rbi, no XBH, no K, enjoyed himself.

Ozzie…1 for 6 , 1 rbi, 4 LOB…he’s not there yet, triple was lucky break but O can he run! Great defense all night.

Freddie… 2 for 5, 1 walk, 2 rbi…what can you say, our rock.

Neck…  2 for 3, 3 bb, 1 k….professional, NOT a pejorative term! Check the numbers

Dansby…2 for 6, 1 rbi, 1 k…maintains his improvement.

Lane Adams pinch hit right at the end, Home Run, 2 rbi.


Now the neverwozzers, who are these guys? They became, collectively, the story of the evening, they were fantastic.

Stewart/Tucker/Flaherty… combined 8 for 13,

Stewart Avg .286, Flaherty .538. OPS 1.340, Tucker .417/ .917

And the best thing of all, gentleman, for the first time, no longer are these guys, pitchers and hitters alike, no names. We’ve lived and died with them, they are now a face, we love them.

A word about defense tonight. We had zero errors , they had 4. But more than that we totally outplayed them in that department. Last year they made us look slow and bumbling, the boot was on the other foot tonight

So Philly has been put in their place, they’ll be tipping their forelock soon. But they’ll be back. Sometimes though, it’s just lovely to look down and be bitchy.,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=529440


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Philadelphia 5 (Almost 4), Atlanta 4 (Almost 5)

Philadelphia 5 (Almost 4), Atlanta 4 (Almost 5)

Well, the Cardiac Kids of Cobb County (and, no, I will not get all cutesy and spell those with K’s instead of C’s, thankewverimuch), almost pulled out another late inning comeback win, before falling to the Phightin’ Phillies in 11 5-4.

Mike Foltynewicz started for the Braves, and went five innings, giving up 3 runs, including solo shots to Rhys Hoskins in the second and Carlos Santana in the 5th. The third run came after Kurt Suzuki interefered with J.P. Crawford in the third, and Santana hit a sac fly to plate him.

The Phillies starter was Nicholas Pivetta, who sounds like he was conjured up from the feverish imagination of Niccolo Machiavelli. He only managed to go four innings before Phils manager Gabe Kapler, who in his first two games is determined to make Sparky Anderson roll over in his grave with the pitching changes, brought the hook. It would only be the 4th time in Phillies franchise history that 8 pitchers were used in the first nine innings. Anyone care to wager that number 5 won’t be tonight? I didn’t think so.

Atlanta tied it up at 2 in the bottom of the third, after a Dansby Swanson lead-off single, when Ryan Flaherty doubled him home. After Folty sac bunted him to third, Ender Inciarte hit his own sac fly.

In the bottom of the 4th, Swanson continued his good day at the plate, singling in Suzuki, who had been hit by a pitch in the hand, with two outs, to give the Braves a brief lead, until Santana went all Black Magic Woman on Folty in the 5th. Philly took the lead in the 6th when Aaron Altherr walked off Jose Ramirez, and was driven in with a 2 out single by Nick Williams. Lead off walks…grr.

Did I say lead off walks? Atlanta nabbed one of its own in the 8th, when Freddie Freeman drew his thrid of the evening (and is currently on pace for a season total of 486 free passes). Freddie went to third on a Nick Markakis groundout when no one covered the bag, and came in to score after Preston Tucker had his second game tying RBI in the 8th. Snitker sent in Peter Bourjos to pinch run and the Braves looked like they took the lead after Swanson’s third hit of the night, a screaming double to left, but Bourjos was called out after a video review. It appeared his lead leg bounced over the plate as the tag was applied. I couldn’t tell from the replay one way or the other, but the Braves didn’t squawk at all, so that must’ve been the right call.

Arodys Vizcaino mad it interesting in the 9th, but managed to wiggle off the hook, stranding Phillies at first and third by striking out Hoskins – who so far looks like he’s the second coming of Ryan Howard. So far he’s been crushing Braves pitching in his short career.

Shane Carle worked a clean 10th, but in the 11th, he gave up singles to Crawford, and Cesar Hernandez, and with one out Santana nailed the solo, with his second sac fly for a 5-4 lead.

And when you’re scheduled to send up Bourjos, Carle, and Flaherty in the bottom of the inning, you had a bad feeling about this. Carle had to hit because Suzuki went out after being hit in the hand, and Snitker had burned Lane Adams as a pinch hitter in the 7th inning. Bourjos stayed on for Tucker and Charlie Culberson (aka Evil Dansby) was switched in for Original Dansby after the 8th. Ahh, the joys of a four man bench. I have no idea why Snitker didn’t pinch hit one of the starters – say Julio Teheran – maybe he didn’t trust anyone left in the pen.

But, Atlanta improbably rallied a bit. With two out Flaherty hit one through the hole, and Culberson sold the home plate ump on a hit by pitch that didn’t appear to be, but again the Phillies didn’t squawk, so maybe I need better glasses. But Ender jumped on the first pitch and popped out to shallow center. And, that, as they say, was that.

Brandon McCarthy goes to the hill tonight against Vince Velasquez who sounds like he should be half of a tag team in the WWE.

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