Once again runs were tough to come by for the Braves in Arizona. After being shutout the night before, they managed only two runs off of former Brave Juan Cruz, who was dominant early. But two runs would be all they would need with Tim Hudson on the mound.
Hudson worked through a bunch of jams, throwing 122 pitches through eight innings, and giving the Braves a much needed shot in the arm. But the ninth was another nail biter. Chris Reitsma came on to try and rebound and record the save, but after a walk and a double, Cox had seen enough and sent for Macay McBride. McBride walked the first batter he saw, but did not give in to him, and got the second batter on strikes to pick up his first save of the year and second of his career. Could this signal a change at the closer position for the Braves? It certainly signals a lack of confidence in Reitsma, and rightfully so.
McCann was walking around with the help of an air cast and said he hopes to only be sidelined a few days. The Braves took precautions and called up catcher Brayan Pena from Richmond as a backup to Todd Pratt, and designated Travis Smith for assignment. This move was unavoidable, even though the team had hoped to keep Smith around in the bullpen for another week until Ramirez returned. Smith will likely accept an assignment back in Richmond. Pena was only hitting .226 at Richmond, but as Mark Bowman points out, it was because of his decision to stop being a switch-hitter. He has recently reversed this decision and the big club could be the beneficiary of him getting back into form.
Atlanta 2, Arizona 1 at Chase Field
Atlanta Record (22-22)
Arizona Record (24-19)
Winning Pitcher - Tim Hudson (4-3)
Losing Pitcher - Juan Cruz (1-3)
On another note, my story about my adventures with a Braves Press Pass last Saturday is up over at Baseball Digest Daily. Here is a permalink to the story. And here are the TalkingChop articles I posted while I was there (Part 1 / Part 2). There is different content between them, and the BDD story has one of the best analogies ever - that my friend Patrick came up with.