Raise your hand if you love Joe Mather.
Joe Mather pretty much won tonight's game all by himself.
After dropping three straight tough games, the Braves battled back after trailing early and won 5-4 in 12 innings.
Tommy Hanson started for the Braves and had his worst outing of the season. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs on five hits and four walks, though he did strikeout seven batters. Joel Pineiro started for Anaheim and shut the Braves down through six innings before finally cracking in the 7th when he departed.
LAA scored first on a 2-run Bobby Abreu home run in the 1st inning. They scored two more runs in the bottom of the 5th on a Torii Hunter 2-run single to left. The Angels could have added on, but poor baserunning cost them multiple opportunities.
It was more of the same for the Braves' bats during the first six innings. They were swinging early in the count, grounding out weakly more times than not, and most importantly, they didn't score a single run. That changed in the 7th inning.
Joe Mather came up to the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd and hit a big 3-run homer that just cleared the bullpen walls in left field. The home run ended a 17 inning scoreless streak for Atlanta. Martin Prado followed with a ground-rule double and then came around to score on a Brian McCann double.
It was a battle of the bullpens after that and the Braves' would prove to be slightly better tonight. Eric O'Flaherty worked a scoreless 7th, Jonny Venters dominated the 8th and 9th innings, George Sherrill (It's crazy, but Sherrill has really pitched well this month. Good for him.) struck out two batters in a scoreless 10th, and Scott Proctor worked a quick 11th inning. Great work guys.
With the score still tied 4-4 in the 12 inning, Joe Mather came through once again. With two outs, the outfielder drove a ball down the right field line which scored Alex Gonzalez from 2nd base without a throw. The Braves led 5-4.
Craig Kimbrel came in the bottom half of the inning and walked Mark Trumbo to start the inning. Alexi Amarista put down a sacrifice bunt to move Trumbo into 2nd base and Peter Bourjos grounded out weakly to Alex Gonzalez for the 2nd out. With the tying run on 3rd, Kimbrel got Macier Izturis to ground back to the mound for the final out of the game.
Just something to discuss: Joe Mather has now had multi-hit games in each of his last four starts. I think Dan Uggla has had four multi-hits games all season. If Heyward is in the lineup, do the Braves consider moving Martin Prado back to 2nd base and continue starting Joe Mather in left field? It wouldn't be permanent, but Dan Uggla is a bad, bad, bad joke right now. We need our players to hit, and Joe Mather is hitting.