This time, it was the Braves who made the opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches, and the pitcher was Kevin Millwood. Kevin’s been scuffling a bit lately anyway, and didn’t need to see the Braves right now. After retiring Furcal and Giles, he loaded the bases on Sheffield and Chipper singles and an Andruw walk, then Robert Fick singled on a 3-2 pitch, scoring two. The Braves saw 36 pitches in the first, and more often than not the pitcher who does that isn’t long for the game. Millwood went five, throwing 105 pitches and giving up four runs.
Fick also singled home Sheffield in the third, then scored on Vinny’s single. Sheffield capped the Braves’ scoring with a two-run homer in the sixth. All the Braves’ runs came with two out as well as all involving Fick and/or Sheffield.
Russ Ortiz threw only six innings, 97 pitches (52 strikes) then left the game with a comfortable lead. He walked three and only had three strikeouts, and that’s not a good ratio… The Phillies got their only run in the eighth, and could have had more if not for a baserunning blunder. Trey Hodges would have done okay on grass, but not that plastic garbage in Philadelphia. The Phillies hit three straight singles off him to start the inning, but the second, which scooted by Marcus Giles, would have been a cinch double play on grass. (Or if the stupid umpire hadn’t been in the way. Why does the second base umpire stand in front of the infielders anyway?) And Furcal would have made the play on the third on grass as well, though I don’t know that he could have thrown anyone out.
After Ray King got Jim Thome, Bobby brought in Gryboski. Why? I think Gryboski has inherited Lockhart’s pictures. Anyway, he allowed a single to Pat Burrell, which would have loaded the bases, but Bobby Abreu ran through a stop sign at third and was out by fifteen feet on Chipper’s throw. Game essentially over, though Bobby left Gryboski out there to make it interesting.
The series ends with a day game today as the Braves try to make it 5-4 on the trip. Then they finally return home, with the homecoming gift a visit from the Orioles.