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‘98 Braves down 0-2 in series after Game 2 loss

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A dominant performance by Kevin Brown helped sink the Braves into an 0-2 hole in the 1998 NLCS

Padres V Braves

We continue our look at the 1998 NLCS with Game 2, in which Atlanta ran into a buzzsaw named Kevin Brown. Atlanta had their chances in Game 1 but failed to capitalize. They wouldn’t get many opportunities in this one either, as Brown was dialed in and in control for most of the night.

1998 NLCS Game 2 Lineups

# Padres # Braves
# Padres # Braves
1 Quilvio Veras 2B 1 Walt Weiss SS
2 Steve Finley CF 2 Keith Lockhart 2B
3 Tony Gwynn RF 3 Chipper Jones 3B
4 Ken Caminiti 3B 4 Andres Galarraga 1B
5 Wally Joyner 1B 5 Ryan Klesko LF
6 Carlos Hernandez C 6 Javy Lopez C
7 Ruben Rivera LF 7 Andruw Jones CF
8 Chris Gomez SS 8 Michael Tucker RF
9 Kevin Brown P 9 Tom Glavine P

Bobby Cox stuck with the same lineup for Game 2 of the series with the exception of Glavine in as the pitcher. Greg Vaughn suffered a strained quadriceps muscle in Game 1 and would end up missing the remainder of the series for the Padres. Ruben Rivera replaced him in left field hitting seventh. This was theoretically a big blow to the Padres as Vaughn was far and away their best position player in 1998, though it didn’t end up hurting them too much in the end.

A video of the game is embedded at the bottom of this post. You can follow along below or just skip down to watch the entirety of it if you have the time to spare.

National League Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves - Game Two

1st Inning - Padres 0, Braves 0

Glavine got off to a good start sitting the Padres down in order to open the game. Quilvio Veras flew out to center while both Steve Finley and Tony Gwynn grounded out. Glavine needed just 13 pitches to get through the opening frame.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, Kevin Brown came out breathing fire as well striking out Walt Weiss, Keith Lockhart and Chipper Jones to close out the inning.

2nd Inning - Padres 0, Braves 0

Glavine worked himself into a jam, issuing back-to-back walks to Ken Caminiti and Wally Joyner to open the inning. Carlos Hernandez then tried to move the runners over with a bunt but popped up the attempt in foul territory for the first out. That would bring up Rivera who would go down swinging for out number two. Glavine then inexplicably walked Chris Gomez to load the bases but was able to strike out Brown to end the inning. No damage on the scoreboard but a 31-pitch inning was less than ideal.

Atlanta got their first baserunner against Brown when Andres Galarraga walked on four pitches to lead off the second. Ryan Klesko followed with a walk of his own to put runners at first and second with no one out. However, just like Game 1, the Braves were unable to take advantage. Javy Lopez followed and grounded an 0-1 pitch to Joyner who started the 3-6-1 double play. Galarraga moved over to third but Andruw Jones grounded out to Gomez at short to end the inning. Neither team was able to take advantage of back-to-back walks to open their inning.

3rd Inning - Padres 0, Braves 0

The Padres again made Glavine work in the third. Veras led off the inning with a double. Finley struck out for the first out of the inning. Glavine then ran the count full against Gwynn who grounded the eighth pitch of the at-bat to Galarraga for the second out. With Veras now at third, Glavine walked Caminiti and Joyner on eight straight pitches. With bases now loaded, he made quick work of Hernandez, getting him out on three pitches and a deep fly ball to end the threat. That was 26 more pitches for Glavine putting him at 70 through the first three innings.

While the Padres were making Glavine work, the Braves on the other hand were looking for something good from Brown early in the count and were largely unsuccessful. Michael Tucker struck out to lead off the inning before Glavine and Weiss grounded out to end the inning. Brown would head back to the dugout after throwing just eight pitches.

National League Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves - Game Two

4th Inning - Padres 0, Braves 0

Rivera helped Glavine’s cause in the fourth swinging at the first pitch and popping out to Galarraga at first. Gomez then recorded his first hit of the series with a double to left. Glavine induced a ground out from Brown and struck out Veras swinging to end the inning. Just a 14-pitch inning for Glavine but his total would now be at 84 for the game.

The Braves would again threaten in the fourth but would come away scoreless. Lockhart grounded out to lead off the frame before Chipper followed with a single to center. Galarraga lined out to Joyner for the second out. Klesko walked to put runners at first and second for Lopez. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch by Brown but Lopez flied out harmlessly to left to end the threat.

5th Inning - Padres 0, Braves 0

Finley reached on an infield hit to lead off the fifth inning against Glavine but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Gwynn. Caminiti worked a two-walk but Joyner struck out looking to end the frame. Glavine needed 19 pitches to get through the inning bringing his total for the game to 103.

Brown went right back to work striking out Andruw and Tucker to begin the home half of the fifth. Glavine fell behind 0-1 but then picked up a single to left. Weiss was unable to advance him grounding out to Joyner for the third out.

6th Inning - Padres 1, Braves 0

Back out for the sixth, Glavine got the first two outs of the inning striking out Hernandez and retiring Rivera on a fly out. Things started to unravel after that as Gomez singled to left bring up Brown. Glavine jumped ahead 1-2 but Brown poked a single through the same hole that Gomez found to put runners at first and second. The Padres finally broke through with a single up the middle that scored Gomez to make it 1-0. Brown was caught in a run down and tagged out for the final out of the inning but San Diego had the lead. Glavine threw 18 more pitches in the sixth bringing his total to 121.

Now with the lead, Brown made quick work of the Braves in the bottom half. Lockhart began the inning with a ground out. Chipper worked the count full but flew out to center. Galarraga followed with a ground out to second for the final out.

7th Inning - Padres 1, Braves 0

John Rocker replaced Glavine to start the seventh and retired Finley on a ground out. Gwynn fell behind 1-2 but lined a single to short left. Rocker recovered though getting Caminiti to fly out while striking out Joyner to end the inning.

The Braves were powerless against Brown, though, who again made quick work of them in the bottom half of the inning. Klesko struck out on three pitches. Lopez flew out to center for the second out before Andruw went down swinging to close the frame. Brown was now at 101 pitches for the game but it didn’t appear to matter at this point, despite it only being a 1-0 game.

8th Inning - Padres 1, Braves 0

Rudy Seanez came on to pitch for the Braves in the eighth and made quick work of the Padres, striking out Hernandez and Rivera for the first two outs. Gomez then grounded to Weiss at short to close out the inning.

Atlanta was down to their final six outs and badly needed to find a way to crack Brown. Tucker led off the inning with a fly out to left. Ozzie Guillen came on to pinch hit for Seanez and grounded out to Veras for out number two. Cox went to his bench again sending up Greg Colbrunn to hit for Weiss. Colbrunn fell behind 0-1 but reached on a slow roller to third for an infield hit. Cox then sent Marty Malloy out to run for Colbrunn but Lockhart struck out to end the inning.

9th Inning - Padres 3, Braves 0

Any hope of a comeback largely slipped away in the ninth for Atlanta. Odalis Perez came on to pitch for the Braves and surrendered back-to-back hits to Brown and Veras. With Finley at the plate, Perez threw behind Brown at second and may have had him picked off, but his throw sailed, allowing Brown to advance to third.

Finley followed with a single into the hole on the right side to score Brown and increase the lead to 2-0. Gwynn came to the plate and dropped down a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position. Perez intentionally walked Caminiti to load the bases but Joyner followed with an infield single that scored Veras to increase the lead to 3-0.

That would be the end of the night for Perez. Cox turned again to Kerry Ligtenberg, who put out the fire by retiring Hernandez on an infield pop up and striking out Rivera to leave the bases loaded.

Now armed with a 3-0 lead, Brown came out again in the ninth looking to secure the shutout. Chipper grounded to first to lead off the inning. Galarraga struck out swinging for the second out and Brown then got Klesko looking with his 122nd pitch of the night to end the game.

Game 2 Wrap Up

Brown was clearly the story in this game as he allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out 11 of the 32 batters he faced. Glavine did a good job limiting the damage allowing just one run in his six innings despite six hits and six walks. Perez was ineffective in the ninth but whether it was a three-run lead or a one-run lead, the Braves simply didn’t have much of a chance against Brown on this night.

With Atlanta now in a 0-2 hole, the series would shift to San Diego for a pivotal Game 3.