Ervin Santana dominated yet again as the Braves took game two against the Mets. The Braves took the lead in the third inning on a very weird play that maybe, maybe didn’t, but maybe did hit Freddie Freeman’s foot for an infield single that led to two runs scoring on a Bartolo Colon throwing error. Apparently the play was not reviewable, but since the umpires do not have a way of communicating with the public we are just speculating.
Freeman added two more hits to continue his dominance of the Mets, including an RBI double. B.J. Upton reached base twice as well and he now has a four game hitting streak. Justin Upton hit a single in the eighth, stole a base, advanced on a grounder, and scored on a wild pitch. He is now 10 for 11 in stolen bases since joining the Braves. In my opinion, he should run more a bit more frequently.
David Carpenter entered the eighth inning with a three run lead facing the two-three-four hitters for the Mets. Daniel Murphy hit a very weak squibber to Dan Uggla who inexplicably dropped it and the Mets rallied to add two runs. With runners on first and third and two outs, Carpenter got Ruben Tejada to ground out to Uggla to end the threat. Carpenter has a bad ERA right now, but I’m not too concerned about him. The balls hit off him weren’t scorched and he would have left the inning unscathed if not for Uggla’s gaffe.
In the top of the ninth, Justin Upton hit a three run shot off of Jose Valverde to seemingly put the game to rest. But unfortunately things just aren’t that simple anymore. Craig Kimbrel, who was battling shoulder soreness earlier in the week, still came into the game despite it not being a save situation so he could get some work. He got the first out and then hit Eric Young Jr. with a pitch and allowed back to back hits to Daniel Murphy and David Wright to put the tying run to the plate. Kimbrel struck out Curtis Granderson but allowed a run scoring single to Chris Young. Lucas Duda walked and Fredi Gonzalez pulled Kimbrel for Jordan Walden. Walden got his first save by inducing a grounder from Travis d'Arnaud to Andrelton Simmons.
Before the game got crazy, the story of the night was Santana again performing exceptionally well. He allowed one run over seven innings of work, making it the seventh straight start that a Braves starter has allowed one run or less. Santana struck out seven and walked two while allowing six hits. It wasn’t the sharpest we have seen him, but he settled down after the first inning by utilizing his changeup and slider heavily.
The changeup has been the difference maker this year, as he came into the start throwing it 15.8% of the time and threw 19 changeups out of 106 pitches (by my count). That’s a 17.0% rate. Last season he threw 5.8% changeups and has not been above 10% since his rookie season. The Braves have realized how good a pitch it is and Santana has been more willing to utilize it this year against left-handed batters.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of the night was Bartolo Colon at the plate. His helmet either fell off or almost fell off on each swing he took. Tommy Hanson is probably the worst hitter I’ve seen in the box, but I think Colon just stole the title from him.
Also during the game, our Jane Hammond discovered Vine and captured moments from the night, like Santana's postgame interview: