I kind of wish I still had my Andruw-o-meter. Andruw Jones was 3-5, with two homers, four RBI, raising his average to .300 (with .399 OBP and .579 slugging percentage, both highest on the team) in the Braves’ extra-innings win over the Rangers. The big blow was a three-run shot in the tenth. Andruw’s on an eight-game hitting streak, and it’s not one of those with a lot of 1-4 games. He’s had multi-hit games, hit for power, and drawn walks. Bobby Cox compared what’s going on with Andruw right now to what happened when Sammy Sosa found himself to become one of the game’s elite hitters. And Andruw’s about five years younger than Sosa was at that time.
Kevin Millwood had a good start, six innings, two runs. Those two runs came in an odd sixth inning where a lot of balls seemed to fall just right for the Rangers, and he looked much better than he has lately… John Smoltz got the save, and looked very strong. The Braves’ defense didn’t, committing three errors.
Now that they’re watering down the baseballs at Coors Field, you have to go to the American League for Arena Baseball, and Arlington, Texas is where they play it the most. The Braves scored 11 runs in the first three innings, leading by ten after two and a half… and at one stage in the fifth, the Rangers had the tying run on deck. The Braves held on to win 13-7, scoring their most runs this year. Matt Franco, getting his first start of the season at first base, homered, Rafael Furcal, Darren Bragg (playing right field with Sheffield DHing) and both Joneses had three hits, and Keith Lockhart had two but is still hitting .189.
Damian Moss had a rough go of it, giving up six earned and leaving during the fifth. Chris Hammond wound up going 2 2/3, giving up only two hits, and getting the win, his third in his last three outings. He really has been a godsend in long relief.
The Marlins lost and the Mets and Expos won last night. All three teams are at .500, and four and a half behind the Braves. Only the Twins have a bigger lead in their division. The four-game winning streak is the season’s longest… ESPN for some reason lists yesterday’s starters as starters for today’s game, but in fact it will be Kevin Millwood against former Braves farmhand Rob Bell.