Kenshin Kawakami is never going to win another game. It’s obvious. Tonight, he went six shutout innings and left with a four-run lead, and got a no-decision because the team’s top two relievers couldn’t hold it. It’s not that he was great. He struck out five and walked only one, and he kept the ball in the park, which is what you want. However, he was giving up an awful lot of line drives right at the outfielders. Bobby pulled him after six even though he’d thrown just 79 pitches (53 strikes), apparently because he was suffering from blisters all night.
The Braves had grabbed the lead in the first when the guys who are supposed to carry the team did. Heyward doubled, Chipper doubled in turn, then McCann hit a two-run homer. Chipper singled in Heyward (after a triple) in the fifth. But the Braves didn’t get much from the guys outside the 2-4 spots (seven hits from those guys, just four, two by McLouth, from everyone else) and so the Reds hung around.
Moylan cruised through the seventh, striking out two. But Saito, after getting the first guy, allowed three straight hits, the last a double, to cut the lead to 4-2, and O’Flaherty let an inherited run score to cut it to one. Wagner then started the ninth by giving up a homer to a rookie pinch-hitter, and after allowing a single and a walk labored to just keep it tied.
McLouth and Melky went meekly (alliteration!) leading off the ninth. But Prado singled, bringing up Heyward. Jason worked the count to 3-2, then hit a ball hard down the right field line, all the way to the wall. I’m not quite sure why the right fielder was so far away from the line against a lefty power hitter, but on a 3-2 count Prado was running, so there was no chance of a play, Braves win, and are finally back to .500.