Braves Lose 3-1 In Series Opener

The Braves offense and defense did not come to the park in support of rookie Brandon Beachy tonight. The young right-hander pitched well in 4.1 innings but earned a loss in his first career start. Bobby Cox opted to let him hit with Alex Gonzalez at second in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, Jason Heyward committed a three base error and Placido Polanco drove him in with an RBI ground-out. Beachy stayed in to face Utley but after he singled he was removed from the game. 

Heyward's error was the key play of the game, which shifted momentum in the Phillies favor. The Braves did have opportunities though, especially in the second inning. After Brian McCann doubled in Derrek Lee, Matt Diaz singled right behind McCann. Brian had to wait to see if the ball got through and held up at third base. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Alex Gonzalez struck out. Melky Cabera followed that poor effort by grounding into a double play to end the inning. The next opportunity was the fourth when Cox elected not to pinch hit for Beachy.

The fifth inning was just a poorly played and managed inning overall. Cox brought in Eric O'Flaherty to face Ryan Howard and Chase Utley stole second base. Martin Prado forgot to catch the ball which gave Utley the opportunity to advance to third. O'Flaherty, the LOOGY, immediately walked Howard and then walked Jayson Werth before finally recording an out against Raul Ibanez, but a run scored on his ground out.. Peter Moylan relieved O'Flaherty and pitched very well in 1.1 innings pitched. Michael Dunn and Kyle Farnsworth also pitched scoreless innings.

Offensively, Jason Heyward and Derrek Lee were really the only productive players, aside from McCann's lone hit in his RBI double. Lee had two singles while Heyward had an infield single and a walk. The Braves need to hit and play better defense, but they also need their manager to make better decisions throughout the game. He also needs to not play a guy like Melky Cabrera because he can bat right-handed, especially not against a pitcher who's best pitch is a changeup.

The best part of the game was Matt Diaz tripping a red-suited fan who ran onto the field.

Tomorrow, Mike Minor faces Roy Halladay. The best news about this is that two of the Phillies three best hitters are left-handed, so Howard and Utley will likely only face southpaws tomorrow night. Let's get them tomorrow.

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