Philadelphia, the cradle of our republic, rocked the Braves with four runs in the top of the tenth inning to avoid a sweep. In the process, they kept Atlanta below for .500 for the 2015 season.
There are two sides to any coin; so either the starting pitchers were very good, or the opposing offenses sucked. If you must, choose. Whatever your choice, you’re probably right.
Both teams had opportunities to score. Both teams failed, but the Phillies worked harder to do so. After neither team scored after loading the bases in the first, the pitchers settled down. Sort of.
The Phils threatened in the fifth. Odubel Herrera doubled to lead off the inning. Being a typical Philly, he strayed too far off second. A.J. Pierzynski, who hit the heck out of the ball all game long, make a good defensive play that resulted in Herrera being tagged out. Cesar Hernandez promptly singled, but Philadelphia couldn’t recover.
Neither Shelby Miller nor Cole Hamels feels sorry for the other. They both are accustomed to their team putting up nothing but goose eggs while they’re in the game. Miller exited after six and a third, and Luis Avilan closed out the seventh without incident. Hamels one-upped Miller. He went seven, gave up nothing.
Jim Johnson blanked the Phillies in the top of the eighth. Ken Giles dominated the Braves in the bottom of the frame, striking out three. Jason Grilli blew the Phils away in the top of the ninth, duplicating Giles brilliance.
And then the Braves should have won the game.
Philadelphia moved one-time third baseman and current left fielder Cody Asche to the infield, leaving the Phillies with two outfielders.
The Braves allowed Pedro Ciriaco to face Luis Garcia. Pedro pooched a weak pop to very short center or moderately deep short, depending on your point of view. Either way, KJ could not score; and Fredi brought Juan Uribe in to pinch hit, in my opinion one batter two late; for it now would have taken a two out hit to bring Johnson home. Since Uribe looked silly striking out, it probably made no difference. Still, I would preferred seeing Uribe up with one out rather than Pedro, regardless.
The Braves rolled over in the tenth. Played dead.
Nick “White Flag” Masset gave up hits to Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez, then walked Maikel Franco to load the bases with nobody out. Dana Eveland was summoned. Eveland held Ryan Howard to the go ahead sacrifice fly. Having completed his task, he surrendered the ball to Jake Brigham.
For the first time in his major league career, Brigham was unequal to the task. First of all, he could not unscore the run already given up. Second, he gave up a two-run double to Carlos Ruiz and saw Ruiz trot home on an rbi single by Freddy Galvis.
Jonathan Papelbon did not garner the save. The game was past saving. He did, however, retire the Braves in order.
Here’s what I saw.
The Phillies should have salted the game away early. They did not.
The Braves should have won the game in the ninth. Nope.
Fredi used his bullpen wisely. I still wish he were gone, but his options beyond Avilan, Johnson and Grilli are not wonderful
I THINK — just fallible me stating my druthers — that Fredi should have used Uribe to hit for Ciriaco in the ninth. If Uribe failed with one out as he did with two, you’ve still got the final out to win the game.
Didn’t happen. Doesn’t matter. Braves lose.