On a night when it appeared the Braves best player over the past fifteen years would miss a substantial amount of time, Brooks Conrad came into the game late and performed some more ninth inning heroics. The Braves spoiled a one run lead in the bottom of the eighth with some poor defense on the part of Alex Gonzalez yet again. With the gloom of Chipper Jones' knee injury, suffered on a terrific play, the Braves seemed poise to let this game slip. Thankfully, Conrad came up second in the inning, after a Gonzalez infield single. Conrad hit a bomb into the right field seats to give the Braves the lead. It was just another clutch performance by the "Raw Dog."
Both pitchers had very good outings, with Jurrjens pitching into the eighth inning and Happ allowing just two hits. Jurrjens struck out three, induced 12 ground balls, and allowed seven total base runners in his 7.1 innings pitched. Happ struck out six and walked four over 6.1. In the preview I stated that this was probably the best pitching matchup, and it definitely lived up to expectations.
Peter Moylan allowed an inherited runner to score and a hit, lasting just 0.1 of an inning. Venters relieved him and struck out Jason Michaels to stop the bleeding before the Braves got to work in the top of the ninth. Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth with a strikeout, earning his 28th save of the season.
Troy Glaus extended his hitting streak to four games, adding an insurance home run a few batters after Conrad's blast. It was Glaus' first home run since June 19, and he had driven in the Braves lone run up until that inning on an RBI single. Chipper Jones had the only other extra base hit, a double of of Happ. Jones was starting to get really hot offensively, so it will be a struggle to replace his production if he is out for an extended period of time. The injury was diagnosed as a knee sprain, but will undergo more tests on Thursday with the doctor that did his ACL surgery in 1994. Hopefully, it is nothing structural, but it looked awful just after the play.
The stat of the night is without a doubt all six of Conrad's homers coming in the sixth inning or later. I'm not a proponent of clutch hitting being a controllable asset, but "Dirt" has been out to prove me wrong all year.