Before the game even started, the Braves and Dodgers wrapped up the ongoing drama that an on-again, off-again trade brings. Atlanta
bribed Alberto Callaspo gave Alberto Callaspo a $100,000 stipend to waive his no-trade clause, and shipped him to the other dugout in exchange for Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and therefore fits the Braves MO quite nicely. The Braves also included Ian Thomas, Juan Jamie, and Eric Stults, in the package, the latter of whom was immediately DFAed.
After that drama was finally wrapped up, the two teams then engaged in a good, old-fashioned pitchers duel, made possible through the dominance of Alex Wood and incompetence of the Braves offense who let a not-so-sharp Zack Greinke make it through six innings in decent shape. To add to the intrigue and show how much these two rivals are on the same page following that trade, both teams both a batted Peterson, Jace and Joc, leadoff, and assigned an A.J. to handle the catching duties.
In the 1st, the good guys loaded the bases with one out on a hit and two walks, but strikeouts to The New Juan and A.J. Pierzynski ended the threat. That inning Grinkie threw 32 pitches but the Braves had nothing to show for it.
In the 2nd, Andrelton Simmons picked up a base hit, but Alex Wood bunted into a double play to end the inning and once again Greinke got out of it. The Braves finally got on the board in the 3rd, when Cameron Maybin hit a 3-2 fastball out of the park for the Braves first home run in their last 10 games. That would be all the damage Atlanta could muster against Greinke, but, fortunately enough, Wood was sharp and kept the Braves within striking distance.
The lone run Wood gave up came in the 4th, and it probably should never have scored. Jimmy Rollins led off the inning with a ground ball between 3rd base and shortstop, and Simmons appeared to be on track to snag it and gun him out. The New Juan, however, not accustomed to playing next to such greatness, tried to dive and deflected the ball away from Simmons. The play was initially ruled an error, but later that was reversed to a base hit. Two outs later Rollins scored on a ground ball that went just under Peterson’s glove.
Coming off a missed start due to illness, Alex Wood’s final line was an impressive 7 IP, 7H, 1R, 6K, and rumor has it the Braves are now trying to find a way for Julio Teheran to contract the stomach bug that plagued Wood last week.
The Braves managed to rally in the 8th to reward Wood with a win. Simmons led the inning off with a single, and Todd Cunningham followed with a walk. Peterson grounded to shortstop, but beat the rap to first to leave runners at the corners with one out. Maybin hit a fly ball to center, but it wasn’t deep enough to score the run, and it looked as though the Braves were going to squander another prime scoring opportunity. Then the Dodgers bestowed a gift, and threw ball four to Freddie Freeman to the backstop and the Braves took the lead on some good old-fashioned ABE baseball.
They built on that lead when Nick Markakis followed that with a ground rule double. In a rather ironic move, the Dodgers then intentionally walked Juan Uribe, the guy who was expendable enough to them earlier in the day that they traded him for the Braves dregs. Maybe they were trying to give a mental boost for their fans, something that would allow them to be able to boast “we’re good enough that we can afford to get rid of guys even we’re scared of.” But the move worked, as A.J. grounded out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Jim Johnson made it through the 8th without any problems, picking up two strikeouts along the way. Jason Grilli came on to nail down the save, but the Dodgers would not be denied their sweep quietly. He got Justin Turner for the first out, then gave up a home run followed by a single. He then got the other A.J. for the second out, which brought up the pinch-hitting Callaspo, and Braves fan steeled themselves for the worst, because when ex-Braves have the chance to beat their old team this season, they do. Fortunately, Callaspo had not been gone from the Braves clubhouse long enough for that memo to reach him, and, following ball three down the middle of the plate to run the count full, he hit a fly ball to centerfield that Maybin had no problem tracking down to end the game and secure a 3-2 victory.
The Braves are now back to .500 and head to San Fransisco to take on the World Champs for a four-game set. For this bunch, taking one out of three in Dodger Stadium is actually a pretty good accomplishment, and helped them improve to 5-12 this season against teams with a record that is over .500. But let’s overlook that little tidbit and bask in the glow of a victory for awhile.