Tonight was looking grim after Kris Medlen allowed a two-run shot to Ryan Howard in the bottom of the fifth. The Braves hadn't scored since the first batter of the game, and Jamie Moyer was spinning his magic against the Braves once again.
The top of the sixth was one of the best innings the Braves have had all season, sans the two ninth inning comebacks against the Reds and Phillies at Turner Field. Martin Prado hit his second home run of the day, tenth of the season, with one out in the inning. Four batters later, Brian McCann hit a bases clearing double that put the Braves up 5-3. The next hitter, Matt Diaz, drove a Moyer pitch over the centerfield wall to make it 7-3 and forcing the elder left-hander out of the game. The Braves had hits that scored one, two, and three runs in the inning.
Kris Medlen did not pitch his best game, barely getting out of a bases loaded jam in the first and allowing four runs as he pitched into the seventh. Kris allowed nine base runners over 6.2 innings, but he pitched well enough to keep the Braves in the ballgame. Jonny Venters finished the seventh and opened the eighth, then handed it over to Takashi Saito, who allowed three hits and a run before finishing the eighth with the score being 7-5. Billy Wagner came in to close it out in the ninth and after Melky Cabrera made a leaping catch at the wall, Wagner struck out the final two batters to earn his 19th save. It truly is a shame that Wagner may not make the All-Star game.
The bats didn't have a great game, only scoring in two innings, but they came together in the sixth, which was enough to get the win. Prado had three hits, Omar Infante had two, and Medlen struck out twice from both sides of the plate in the same inning, a rare feat for a starting pitcher.
Since moving Martin to the leadoff spot, the Braves are 33-17. Obviously, getting Melky and McLouth out of the top of the lineup may be a bigger factor, but Martin has responded well and the Braves have played tremendously in the first inning since moving Prado to the leadoff spot.
Up next, the Braves play three against the New York Mets at Citi Field. I'll be going to the series opener with Tommy Hanson (8-5, 4.19 ERA, 4.09 xFIP, 11.2 pRAA) opposing knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-1, 2.62 ERA, 3.79 xFIP, 11.3 pRAA). With the win tonight, the Phillies are now six games back and since the Mets lost, they are three games back. A three-game set against the Mets with both Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson pitching could give the Braves a good cushion heading into the All-Star break.