Take a wild guess at who's now tied for the best record in the National League? Your Atlanta Braves.
This game wasn't looking good early. To be honest, the Braves were looking like the Braves of April. Runners were being left on base. Opposing pitchers were driving in runs. The soft groundballs were finding a way to roll through the infield. You know how it went.
Tommy Hanson was on the mound for the Braves and pitched well, despite struggling with command at times. Hanson did settle in a bit as the game went on, and was able to battle through 6 innings and 118 pitches.
The Dodgers got on the board in the 2nd inning when Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley hit a double to the CF wall that scored Blake DeWitt without a throw. Andre Ethier then drove in the 2nd run of the night with a deep sac-fly to RF, which scored Matt Kemp from 3rd.
Despite having quite a few runners on, the Braves were unable to bring any of them to the plate. Something changed in the 7th inning though. Yunel Escobar led off the inning with a single up the middle and Nate McLouth "ric flair'd" a ball to the RF gap. Brooks Conrad came in to pinch hit for Hanson and delivered with a line-drive up the middle that Billingsley just missed. The Braves were finally on the board, but still trailed by one.
Joe Torre had seen enough and pulled his starter and brought in Ramon Troncoso from the bullpen. Martin Prado laid down a sacrifice bunt to move McLouth and Conrad into scoring position. Omar Infante then ripped a single to LF which scored 2 runners to put the Braves ahead 3-2. After a walk to Jason Heyward, Brian McCann came through. BMac inside-outed a ball to LF and just missed a HR by inches. Infante scored easily and Heyward, despite being held up at 3B by Brian Snitker, ran through the stop sign and beat the throw to the plate by inches. Braves led 5-2.
Mr. May MVP himself Troy Glaus then came to the plate and hit his 5th HR in 8 games, driving in McCann from 2nd. Glaus' 11th HR of the season essentially ended the game for the Dodgers, as they wouldn't be able to come back from such a deficit. The Braves added on in the 8th when Brian McCann drove in McLouth and Prado with a single to the right-center field gap. The Braves led 9-2 heading into the 9th.
Craig Kimbrel came in to pitch the 9th. He gave up a run, but still struck out 3 in the inning, including Matt Kemp and Manny Ramirez to close out the game. With Saito out for a few weeks, the Braves will need Kimbrel to fill a late-inning role.
Braves win 9-3!
Good, Bad and Ugly after the jump...The Good:
1. Brian McCann - 2-for-4, 2B, 4RBI
2. Tommy Hanson - 6IP, 8H, 2ER, 2BB, 6K
3. Omar Infante - 2-for-4, 2RBI single in the 7th
4. Troy Glaus - 1-for-5, HR(11), 2 RBI (44; now the NL leader)
5. Brooks Conrad - For as bad as Brooks looks at times, he really delivers in the clutch. His RBI single in the 7th kept the inning going, depsite being down 0-2 in the count.
1. Nate McLouth - 1-for-4, 4 LOB
2. Braves runners LOB: 9
1. The Dodgers Bullpen - 3IP, 7H, 6H, 3BB, 3K; Ouch.
2. Home Plate Umpire Mike Murchlinski - Horrible all night. One inning you couldn't throw a strike, the next inning every pitch within 2 feet of the plate was a strike.
3. Tommy Hanson giving up a 2-out double to Chad Billingsley - Come on Tommy. You're better than that. This really would've stung if the Braves lost this game by a run or two.
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Upcoming Game: The Braves will conclude their 4-game series in LA tomorrow afternoon. John Ely will pitch for the Dodgers and Timmy Hudson will be on the mound for the Braves. First pitch at 4:10EST.