Boy, we sure needed that. I can't even remember the last time the Braves won a blowout like this one. It sure is fun, though. We should do it more often.
After the Braves' lineup was revealed this morning, I got kind of sick to my stomach. With Rick Ankiel hitting second and Alex Gonzalez hitting third, I had little expectation that the Braves would score many runs. Fortunately, the reverse jinx that I put in the open thread worked, and both Ankiel and Gonzalez had good games at the plate. Ankiel even did something useful defensively, throwing out a runner at third base.
The lesson, as always: Vicente Padilla stinks. The Braves knocked him around for two 4-run innings. In the third, Melky Cabrera hit an opposite-field double off of Padilla's freakish eephus-like pitch; that knocked in Brooks Conrad to make it 1-0 Braves. After a sacrifice, Omar Infante auto-singled Melky in to make it 2-0. Ankiel then singled just under the glove of a slow-footed Ryan Theriot, and Gonzalez followed by scorching a liner into the right-center gap for a 2-run triple.
In the fifth, Infante led off with another auto-single. Ankiel walked (the one thing he's consistently done well since coming to the Braves), and Gonzalez was hit by a pitch. That brought up Brian McCann, who hit a sac fly to make it 5-0. The next batter, Troy Glaus, delivered the coup de grace with a towering 3-run homer to make it 8-0. The much-maligned, then much-loved, then much-maligned-again Glaus has shown a few glimpses lately of better play, though he is still slower than a sloth in a vat of molasses.
Those 8 runs were plenty for Jair Jurrjens, who pitched out of some runner-on-third, less-than-2-out jams and got lots of swings and misses. JJ gave up only 1 run, and that was on a double play. By the way, the Dodgers have scored 3 runs in this series, and none of them were on hits (2 double plays and a sac fly).
Jurrjens struck out 7 and walked only 1 in 7 innings. Both the walk and the run came in his last inning, with the Braves already well ahead. It was another excellent performance by a Braves starter. They've now given up just 2 runs in 21 innings in this series.
The Braves added a single run in the sixth on a sac fly by Alex Gonzalez, then put up another 4-spot in the 8th with the help of the sun. Dodgers right fielder Jay Gibbons lost a ball in the afternoon sun, which opened the floodgates for a remarkable series of bloop hits. Gonzalez, Glaus, Eric Hinske, and Brooks Conrad all had RBI singles in the 8th.
In the end, all the Braves' starters (including Jurrjens) got a hit. The 13 runs and 12-run margin of victory are the most for the Braves since May 16th against the Diamondbacks, which was also a 13-1 win. I like this whole "hitting like we're in May" thing. Let's keep that going.
Don't forget, this series isn't over. Tommy Hanson takes on Chad Billingsley tomorrow at 7 PM eastern at Turner Field. With Tommy on the hill, we've got a great chance to take yet another series. Go Braves!
Stat of the Game
The Braves are now 16-1 in home day games, but only 7-14 on the road in day games. I guess travel + early wake-up calls = poor play. It makes me wonder what the league averages are for home and road day games.
Jair Jurrjens-- 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 0.209 WPA
Alex Gonzalez-- 2/3, 3B, R, 4 RBI, HBP, SF, 0.104 WPA
Melky Cabrera-- 2/5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 0.134 WPA
Omar Infante-- 3/5, 3 R, RBI, 0.040 WPA
Rick Ankiel-- 1/3, 2 BB, 2 R, 0.042 WPA
Brooks Conrad-- 2/4, BB, 2 R, RBI, 0.035 WPA
Troy Glaus-- 2/5, HR, R, 4 RBI, -0.079 WPA (not a good WPA, but still a good day for Troy)
Vicente Padilla-- 4.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 1 HR, 2 BB (1 IBB), 2 K, -0.290 WPA
MVP in a Losing Effort
Ryan Theriot-- 2/2, BB, sac bunt, 0.018 WPA
Melky Cabrera's double to start the scoring (0.142 WPA)
Troy Glaus grounding into a double play in the second (-0.076 WPA). Glausy redeemed himself just a bit later on, though.