The Braves scored seven runs in the seventh inning, followed by three in the eighth. For a team that had scored a combined two runs in its first three games, that’s a lot. The big blow was a three-run homer from Andruw Jones that was the Braves’ first homer of the season and turned a 5-4 deficit to a 7-5 lead. Vinny Castilla also homered, and is actually hitting .500 for the season so far. He’ll be lucky to hit half of that, but yes, he’s been the team’s best player. Which says a lot about the start of this season. And Marcus Giles had three hits and a walk, so we should expect Mark DeRosa to play tomorrow. Every Braves starter, including Jason Marquis (who had an RBI double) had at least one hit.
The shame of it is that Marquis, who pitched very well, starting the game with five shutout innings, (making him the first Braves starter this year to get through the first inning unscathed), didn’t get the win. Marquis gave up a solo homer in the sixth, then an infield hit, and was lifted for Kevin Gryboski, who promptly gave up a two-run shot. Instead the win went to Roberto Hernandez, who gave up two runs on a Mike Lowell homer. There’s no justice. John Smoltz wasn’t especially sharp but got a save.
The dark cloud is that the Braves gave up four homers in the game and have had a propensity for giving up homers this year. It’s something to watch out for if it continues. Several of the Braves’ imported pitchers have shown a tateriffic tendency over their careers. The three relievers between Marquis and Smoltz — Gryboski, Hernandez, and Darren Holmes — have season ERAs of 9.00, 13.50, and 16.20. Of course, it’s early.