I might have to forgive Matt Adams for being a Cardinal. Three games into his Braves career, he’s already becoming a bit of a folk hero. If he keeps this up, he’ll start encroaching onto Brooks Conrad territory.
This game had a bit of everything in it. Lots of hits, a few runs, a Braves bullpen that faltered for the first time in a long time, a rain delay that lasted longer than many games do, two blown saves, and a walkoff hit in the wee hours of the morning.
R.A. Dickey started the game on short rest, but gave his team a solid effort over six innings. He gave up solo runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th innings and left trailing 3-1. That was, quite frankly, fairly impressive, considering he gave up 11 hits and 3 walks in those six innings. He managed to wriggle out of jam after jam and keep his team in the ballgame. The Braves picked up their second run in the bottom of the 6th on Matt Adams‘ second home run in a Braves uniform to inch closer, and Dickey might have come out again to start the 7th, but rain forced the game into a delay. When play resumed three hours and twelve minutes later, both starting pitchers were ancient history.
Kurt Suzuki got the Braves on the board in the 4th inning when he singled to drive home Matt Adams, who had led off the inning with a double. Suzuki finished the game going 3-for-4 to raise his average to .266. The Braves catchers have literally been something else this year.
The 7th inning finally got started around 1 am, and Sam Freeman was the first Brave out of the bullpen. With two outs, he allowed a single to Alen Hanson, breaking the streak of 56 consecutive batters the bullpen had faced without allowing a hit. I never would have guessed this motley crew would have set that franchise record this year. By the time the bottom of the 7th rolled around, the Braves bats were the only thing still awake in the city of Atlanta. They put up two runs on three hits, with RBI singles by Brandon Phillips and Matt Kemp, to take a 4-3 lead.
Jim Johnson tried to preserve that lead and nail down the save in the 9th, but he gave up a bases-loaded single to Jordy Mercer, surrendering the lead and ending the Braves bullpen’s scoreless streak at 23 innings. The Braves entered the bottom of the 9th down by one again, but the offense decided they hadn’t stuck around the ballpark for over six hours to just lose. To the great delight of the 87 fans who were still in attendance, Nick Markakis doubled with two outs to score Ender Inciarte and tie the game. After an intentional walk to Kemp, Matt Adams decided the game had gone on quite long enough, far too long for extra innings, and he hit a ball down the left field line that would have been an easy double under normal circumstances. Markakis jogged home to give the Braves the walkoff win.
As blazon noted in the previous thread, Tony Watson, the Pirates closer, who entered last night 10-for-11 in save opportunities, is a tough LHP, and all three of the Braves hits in the 9th that won the game came from lefties. What an amazing, and unlikely, victory.
Both teams had fifteen hits on the evening, and five Braves collected multiple hits. Inciarte followed up his 5-for-5 performance on Monday with a 3-for-4 game Tuesday. He refuses to let Matt Adams, who has gone 5-for-13 with 3 runs and 4 RBI in a Braves uniform, have all the fun.
The Braves are only three games under .500 now, and in sole possession of 2nd place in the division. While any ranking in the NL East is pretty unimpressive this year, it is a head scratching mystery as to how the Braves have managed to get where they are.
These two teams square off again tonight, same bat time, same bat channel. With a noon start tomorrow and a short night last night, I am sure everyone is hoping for a fast contest tonight. Jome Julio will toe the rubber for the Bravos. Viewer discretion is advised.