The rule didn’t matter anyway, as the rain stopped long enough for the rest of the game to be played. Javy Lopez provided a cushion in the eighth with a three-run homer, and the Braves took two of three from the Giants. They now lead the NL East by a season-high three games, and are only a half game behind San Francisco for the NL’s best record.
The runs in the fifth were scored in an odd manner. Furcal doubled home Javy (who had three hits in all) and then Marcus (who also had three hits) walked. And Jason Schmidt, who hadn’t thrown a wild pitch this year, threw consecutive ones to score Furcal as the rain poured down. I have to suspect he was having trouble gripping the ball in the rain.
When the rain ceased, Trey Hodges pitched two shutout innings and Ray King one. Once again, the Braves changed a save situation to a non-save with runs in the eighth, and once again John Smoltz pitched anyway. And once again I approve.
Mark Derosa played third base and hit eighth. He was 0-4 and is hitting .163. He was the only Brave starting position player to not reach base. Gary Sheffield was hit by a pitch but stayed in the game; after the rain delay Bobby double-switched him out for Bragg, who struck out twice and is hitting .125. Paging Mr. Donzell McDonald (.322/.422/.426 for Richmond.)
Hampton didn’t return after the rain delay, of course. He wasn’t sharp, walking three, allowing six hits, and throwing a wild pitch. It was probably his worst Braves outing since his first.