The collision between Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth proved to be the difference in tonight's 2-1 loss.
In a 1-0 game in the bottom of the 8th, Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth collided on a Gerardo Parra gapper. Nate McLouth was obviously injured and Jason Heyward could not get to the ball in time to keep Parra from scoring on an inside the park home run. With one runner already on, the home run pushed the tying and go ahead runs across to give the Diamdonbacks a 2-1 lead. Chad Qualls entered in the 9th and was able to hold the Braves for his 12th save of the season. Qualls walked Yunel Escobar, who was able to steal second with 1 out, before the Diamondbacks closer struck out Brooks Conrad and induced a ground ball out from Martin Prado to finish the game. McLouth is said to have headaches and he will be evaluated throughout the night.
Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami had his best start of the season, going 6 innings and striking out 8 while allowing 8 base runners. The Braves have continued to find ways to lose games in which Kawakami throws the ball well, and to be frank, it is getting rather frustrating. Kenshin's 0-8 record is in no way indicative of how effective he has been, and it is very unfortunate that the Braves seldom score runs when he is on the mound. Regardless of Kawakami getting the win or loss, the Braves need to take advantage of solid pitching outings like tonight's and put more runs on the board.
Neither team could score for 7 innings as Ian Kennedy matched Kawakami pitch-for-pitch. The Braves opened up the scoring late as the Diamondbacks went to their bullpen for the first time with Aaron Heilman in the top half of the 8th. Heilman allowed a leadoff double to Jason Heyward and Brian McCann drove him in. McCann seems to be seeing the ball well as he went 2-3 with a walk and pushed his OBP to .391. Despite giving up the Braves' lone run, Heilman came away with the win, moving his record to 2-1.
McCann's big hit and Kenshin's great start got spoiled as Peter Moylan was unable to make it 124 straight appearances without allowing a homer. Moylan has been very shaky as of late and it appears the loss of Saito is hurting the team more than hoped. Even though the ball Parra hit was a rope, it was a catchable ball and this was a very winnable game. In contrast to muscling through last night's game and coming out on top, the Braves were unable to capitalize tonight and caught a very tough break which dropped their lead in the N.L. East to 1.5 games.