Chuck James was rather brilliant... through five and a third innings. He was no-hitting the Reds and looked like he was in complete control. But after a one out walk in the sixth, a homerun by Royce Clayton of all people got the scoring and the hitting started for Cincinnati. Another walk and a double, and after only 86 pitches Bobby Cox went to the bullpen. He brought in Chad Paronto who immediately gave up a two-run double to give the Reds the lead.
I was a bit shocked to see James yanked that soon, but it was hot in Cincy and he was laboring. I also would have like to have seen Danys Baez used in the two on and one out situation in the sixth. That's one of those times where you have to use one of your closers to save the game well before the ninth inning.
The real heartbreak on the night was in the ninth inning for the Braves. Against closer "Everyday" Eddie Guardado the Braves loaded the bases with nobody out and the two guys that had already hit homeruns coming to the plate - Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur. McCann popped up for the first out and looked he wanted to hit something on his way back to the dugout. And then Francoeur grounded in the game-ending double play.
Of all the games the last few weeks that we've lost, this one makes me sick!
As Bob Rathbun said after the final out, "a little piece of the Braves postseason hopes dies with this one."
Atlanta 4, Cincinnati 5 at Great American Ball Park
Atlanta Record: (50-58)
Cincinnati Record: (56-53)
Winning pitcher - Aaron Harang (12-7)
Losing pitcher - Chuck James (4-3)
SV - Eddie Guardado (12)