After what was clearly one of the most discouraging losses the Braves have suffered this season, the team managed to bounce back tonight to beat the Fish by a score of 4-0. Prior to the game, I was thinking that someone needed to light a fire under the team and get them almost angry that they had let the wild card lead shrink to just 2.5 games. But in the limited video clips of the dugout prior to the game, it looked as though the team was looser and having more fun than in the past several outings. Maybe that is what the team needs, because it sure worked tonight.
The Braves did three fourths of their damage in the second inning against Anibal Sanchez. Alex Gonzalez belted the first pitch that he saw into left center field to put the Braves on the board. This was quite a relief after the Braves spoiled a golden opportunity in the first inning when Atlanta had two men in scoring position with no outs. After Heyward legged out a double, Bourn drove him in with a double of his own to make the score 2-0 Braves, and took third without a throw. Martin Prado then dribbled his second of three hits on the night up the middle to score Michael Bourn. Freddie Freeman added on some insurance with a solo shot to straightaway center in the top of the sixth.
Randall Delgado earned his first career win and was great in a start that very few would disagree was the biggest of his young career. Delgado got into some trouble during his five innings, but it was usually with two outs and pitched out of it each time. He finished with a line of five innings pitched, five hits, two walks, and no runs. Cristhian Martinez pitched a perfect two innings, which has become customary recently, and Anthony Varvaro had no trouble shutting the door on the Marlins in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Braves left eleven men on base tonight and hit just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, so some of the old habits are still present, but what matters is the Braves got a win behind some great pitching both from Delgado and the bullpen. This all occurred on a night that St Louis is currently behind against the Mets. Hopefully the Braves feel more confident, and feel as if they've stabilized themselves a bit, after such a tough one last night.