And so it ends. It figures that the season would come down to (1) Bobby going a batter too long with Derek Lowe, and (2) Melky making the last out on a weak groundout to third with the tying and winning runs on base.
Unlike most of the series, the Braves led much of the game, taking the lead in the third when Omar Infante and Matt Diaz singled, Omar went to third on a Derrek Lee
groundout sac fly, and scored on a Brian McCann sac fly. Meanwhile, Lowe was awesome, and had faced the minimum through five and a third, the only thing separating him from a perfect game bid an error by Alex Gonzalez. And then Commando Cody Ross — who else — came to the plate and tied the game with a solo homer.
But the Braves came back, McCann launching a homer of his own leading off the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1. Lowe got the first man in the seventh, and then hit the wall, and for all that he’d been great, you really have to question what Bobby was doing here. Lowe walked Aubrey Huff, then Out Boy reached on an infield single, and then Pat Burrell walked, and finally Bobby pulled Lowe at 101 pitches.
If he’d brought in Peter Moylan even one man before… but he didn’t. Moylan got a weak grounder to short, but too weak to get two, and when AAG’s throw pulled Omar off the bag not to get any. Jonny Venters struck out the Amazingly Overpaid Aaron Rowand, but then allowed a single to — say it together, everyone! — Commando Cody, though Matt Diaz threw Burrell out at home to keep it 3-2. If only.
The Braves went 1-2-3 in the seventh, no surprise in that it was Diory Hernandez, Omar, and Melky (hitting for Diaz, and why?) Venters let Edgar Renteria reach on an infield single in the eighth, but as he so often does, erased him on a double play. McCann singled with one out in the eighth, and Nate McLouth ran for him. AAG lined to Edgar, who went into Braves Mode and dropped the sure DP ball, but Gonzalez didn’t run and was out by thirty feet anyway. Craig Kimbrel got a double play to end the top of the ninth, and again, you think, if only.
Brooks Conrad pinch-hit in the ninth, and flew out, but Rick Ankiel and Eric Hinske drew walks. Omar struck out swinging at ball three, and then Melky did his Melky thing to end it. If we’ve learned anything from this season, it’s that Melky sucks.