One of the dangers of a no-hitter is that if it’s a close game, the manager may leave his starter out there longer than he normally would. That may have happened today. Mike Hampton carried a no-no into the eighth before giving up back-to-back singles. Bobby then went to his relief ace, which I approve of, but Smoltz allowed a two-out single to tie the game. He then lost the game in the ninth. The worst part of this is that now Bobby may be less likely to use John before the ninth.
The Braves’ only runs came on two solo homers by Sheffield. They couldn’t get any other offense despite several chances. Of the Braves’ nine baserunners, seven (five hits and two walks) came from the first four hitters; Andruw (who is slumping badly), Fick, and Vinny were a collective 0-12. This is not a game the Braves should have lost.
This is all my fault, of course, for saying that I’d be happy with a 4-5 trip. I’m very sorry. However, the Braves did go on their hardest swing of the year and come back with everything basically the same. They lead the Expos by seven and the Phillies by nine, they have the best record in the NL, and the schedule over the next month is much easier. Of the next six series, four are against teams with losing records, one is the rematch with the Phillies in Atlanta, and the other is against the suddenly reeling Expos, also in Atlanta.