Ahhh, that's better. Coming off two dispiriting losses, the Braves jumped out to a big early lead, and this time they held on to it with an iron fist. The fist belonged to Tim Hudson, who had some spectacular movement on his pitches tonight. That movement led to 13 strikeouts--an absurd 12 of them swinging. The 13 K's are a new career high for Huddy*, and the most by a Brave since John Smoltz struck out 15 in 2005. Hudson struck out the side in both his first and last innings, struck out at least one in each inning, and recorded his 1,500th career K along the way. His only walk was intentional, and he gave up only 6 hits and 1 run in 7 innings.
* Coincidentally (not ironically) his previous high of 12 also came against the Marlins, in 2007.
After coming up short in the first despite a leadoff double by Omar Infante, the Braves went to town on Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco in the second. Matt Diaz, Destroyer of Marlins, led off the inning with a homer. Alex Gonzalez and Melky Cabrera followed with singles. That brought up Hudson, who sacrificed them over nicely. The next batter, Infante, reached on an infield single, scoring Gonzalez. Jason Heyward and Martin Prado then walked, the latter driving in a run to put the Braves up 3-0. Then came the big blow, a bases-clearing double by Brian McCann that made it 6-0.
Nolasco was pulled after the second inning after being charged with 7 hits, 3 walks, and the 6 runs. He struck out no one, a sure sign that something was probably wrong, presumably the torn meniscus in his knee. I suppose we'll know for sure if the Marlins place him on the DL soon.
The Braves added 4 more runs in the 3rd and 4th off of lefty reliever Andrew Miller, including a homer by Eric Hinske. Hinske was only in the game because Derrek Lee left with a mild side strain; Lee was presumably taken out only as a precaution. Prado also had a 2-run single off of Miller, and another run scored on a botched fly ball when first baseman-turned-left fielder Logan Morrison collided with Hanley Ramirez.
Prado added a two-run homer in the seventh off of Burke Badenhop to make it 12-1. Eric O'Flaherty and Kyle Farnsworth worked the 8th and 9th, respectively, for the Braves, giving up a run each.
Stat of the Game
Brian McCann is now 5/10 with the bases loaded this year, with 2 grand slams, 2 doubles, a walk, and 3 sac flies. He has 21 RBI in 14 plate appearances in that situation. His slash line is .500 / .429 / 1.300. And none of this is including his bases-clearing double in the All-Star game.
Tim Hudson-- 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB (1 IBB), 13 K, 7/14 GB (50%), 0.113 WPA
Matt Diaz-- 2/5, HR, 2 R, RBI, 0.112 WPA
Omar Infante-- 2/4, BB, 2B, 2 R, RBI, GIDP, 0.109 WPA
Martin Prado-- 2/4, BB, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, K, 0.025 WPA
Jason Heyward-- 1/3, 2 BB, 2 R, K, 0.071 WPA
Brian McCann-- 2/3, 2B, 3 RBI, 0.033 WPA
Ricky Nolasco-- 2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 0 K, -0.358 WPA
Diaz's homer to start the scoring (0.116 WPA)