The Braves evened the series, and moved to 3-2 on the road trip, beating Jamie Moyer to do it. Mike Hampton was terrific, pitching into the eighth with a shutout, and John Smoltz pitched two innings for the save after bailing out the useless Kevin Gryboski. Bobby had pulled Hampton after he walked the leadoff man in the eighth. It was a reasonable move, but Gryboski? To face Ichiro? That’s crazy.
Speaking of crazy… Darren Bragg had two hits, including an RBI single in the seventh. He’s all the way up to .135! Of course, the RBI single was a pathetic topspin lob that barely made it over second base (and then bounced backwards) and the other hit was on a bunt. I guess I haven’t mentioned this, but Chipper’s wrist injury keeps him from swinging left righthanded. Since the Braves just have to carry 12 pitchers, and they won’t cut Bragg, they’re actually platooning Chipper and Bragg in left — with Bragg hitting against lefties! It’s completely insane. They also have DeRosa DHing against lefties, at least when Javy’s catching. They have to make some sort of move.
The Braves left the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth innings. They actually had fourteen baserunners in the game, but once again were short on extra base hits (back-to-back doubles by Sheffield and Andruw in the eighth the only ones) and couldn’t push many across. I still say that if you keep getting on you’re going to eventually break open for big innings.
Sunday Night game tomorrow, Maddux against Gil Meche. The A’s are doing us some favors by taking the first two from the Expos. The Braves now lead the Expos by seven and the Phillies by eleven.