The rain delay for this game lasted as long as the game did, but I'm sure the 12 fans who were left in the stands by the time the game started at 10pm enjoyed the game. They were all no doubt there to see the return of the Braves' Tim Hudson to the mound -- and a successful return it was.
Timmy worked his way into trouble in the first inning by allowing back-to-back lead-off doubles, but then he looked like he was going to settle down when he struck out Hanley Ramirez swinging on a nasty change-up. But the next batter fought off an inside pitch for a two-run single up the middle. Hudson would pretty much cruise after that until the sixth when he gave up a double and two walks which loaded the bases with one out. Ground ball specialist Peter Moylan came on to get the rally-killing double play grounder.
I'd like to point out the use of Kris Medlen in this game. He came on to pitch the seventh, as Moylan was used in the sixth, and recorded a baserunnerless frame and two strikeouts. This shows a lot of confidence in Medlen, and seems to give Bobby Cox another shutdown bullpen arm to use in the late innings -- which allows him the luxury of using Moylan or Mike Gonzalez in earlier innings to get out of jams (like he did tonight).
The Braves tied the game in a strange way in the third inning. After Tim Hudson had coaxed a lead-off walk on four straight balls, Matt Diaz singled, and Prado and Chipper made outs. With Brian McCann up to bat, the Marlins pitcher made a move to throw to first, but the first baseman was playing in back of the runner, and the pitcher did not throw the ball and was charged with a balk. Hudson was on third and scored the tying run. McCann then used a 10-pitch at-bat to lace a double to center field to put the Braves ahead.
The Braves used a wild pitch in the eighth inning to help them advance a runner who ended up scoring on a single by Garret Anderson. That was a big add-on run as Rafael Soriano gave up a lead-off solo homerun in the ninth to Dan "man he's" Uggla. After a walk and a strikeout, another double play bailed out the Braves and gave them the victory.
It was a solid return for Hudson. His first innigs struggles could be attributed to the multi-day anticipation of this start, then having to wait around for three hours during the rain delay and think about it even more. This gives the Braves 6 solid options in the rotation -- now the only question is, "what will they do now?"
|Final - 9.1.2009||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Tim Hudson (1 - 0)
SV: Rafael Soriano (21)
LP: Anibal Sanchez (2 - 6)