May 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
Another win? What’s going on? At least today they got back to their bread and butter, extra-innings games.
Mike Minor was solid in the spot start, going 5 and 2/3 innings and allowing 1 run on 7 hits and 2 walks (one of them being one of the most idiotic IBB’s we’ve seen from Fredi this year) with 5 strikeouts. He got 7 groundouts, 3 flyouts, and 2 lineouts. Not bad. The Pirates got their run off Minor in the 3rd when Tabata reached on an infield single, stole second, and came home on a single by something called a Steve Pearce (don’t ask me, I have no idea). He left with 2 out in the 6th after surrendering two ground-ball singles, one to Matt Diaz and one to Lyle Overbay. Scott Proctor relieved even though with a 2-1 lead this was likely to be one of the most important plate appearances of the game. Luckily, it was only Ronny Cedeno, their #8 hitter–who Fredi had intentionally walked earlier in the game to clear the pitcher for them–and he grounded out to 1st. Proctor was probably the better option than Minor at that point, third time through the order and all.
The Braves had gotten single runs in the first and sixth. The one in the first came after Jordan Schafer–again batting leadoff–doubled over Matt Diaz’s head to lead off the game (Diaz misplayed it, but the ball was well-hit) and Alex Gonzalez hit a bloop single barely over Neil Walker’s head, advancing Schafer to 3rd. Chipper singled Schafer home which put runners at 1st and
2nd 3rd, but Brian McCann (who is now hitting .274/.340/.393) popped out and Eric Hinske, batting 5th because Dan Uggla is terrible, grounded into a double play. Their second run was a solo shot by Big Damage, and it was a bomb.
With a 2-1 lead, Eric O’Flaherty–who has become the default 7th inning guy–was summoned to pitch his usual inning. Only this time he showed why he should probably not be pitching to righties in high-leverage situations, allowing a single to Tabata and a homer to Pearce. It’s lucky that Tabata was caught stealing before the homer, otherwise Atlanta probably would’ve lost this one.
The Braves almost got the run back the next half-inning. Jordan Schafer led it off with a bunt single, went to second on a hit-and-run groundout, and went to third on a wild pitch with 2 outs. Brian McCann walked to put runners at the corners, but Hinske was caught looking at a third strike to end the threat.
Venters pitched the 8th and 9th. In the 8th Dan Uggla made an error, but Venters covered it up with a double play and a strikeout. In the 9th Venters walked the leadoff man, the next guy reached on a really dumb error by Alex Gonzalez, the Pirates sacrificed the runners to 2nd and 3rd, Fredi issued another intentional walk, and Venters induced a 5-2-3 double-play to get out of the inning.
The Braves did nothing in the 9th or 10th. George Sherrill pitched the bottom of the 10th and faced three hitters that were batting right-handed. He got them all, one groundout, one strikeout, one flyout. Are we sure this rapture thing isn’t real?
In the 11th McCann hit a 1-out single and was pinch-run for with Wilkin Ramirez. I guess that’s going to be his role now because he can’t do anything else. Brooks Conrad hit for George Sherrill and hit a 2-run homer to right center to give Atlanta a 4-2 lead. Uggla then struck out for the third time today and is now hitting .180/.250/.335 and Freeman struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 11th with 2 pop-outs and a groundout.