Ryan Langerhans might have earned the full-time left field job. Not only did he go 3-4 with a walk, but more importantly he drove in the game-tying run with a ninth inning double and the game-winning runs with a two-out, two-run single in the tenth.
Tim Hudson was strong, going eight and allowing just two runs. But he screwed up in the first inning, in kind of the opposite of Marcus’ scoring from second on the swinging bunt in the previous game. With nobody out and a runner on second, Matsui hit a little chopper and Hudson was so intent on looking the runner back he waited too long to throw to first, allowing Matsui to reach; both runners later scored.
It looked like it would cost the Braves the game, as they could get only one run off of Glavine, Furcal driving in Langerhans with a two-out single in the fifth. Tom’s record against the Braves isn’t very good, but it seems like when he does pitch well he pitches very well. But he left in the eighth, and in the ninth the Braves rallied off of Looper.
Francoeur hit a ground rule double leading off. McCann couldn’t get him to third, but it didn’t matter, as Langerhans doubled him home. He was stranded, this time.
Boyer had pitched the ninth, allowing a double, but that was it. The tenth was another bullpen meltdown, though it could have been worse. Reitsma got the first man, then allowed a single and a walk, then left with a strained hamstring. Bobby then chose to bring in… Brower? Huh? Brower allowed a single to load the bases. Foster came in and allowed a pinch-hit single to the immortal Chris Woodward, but only one run scored. And then Ramon Castro lined into a double play to shortstop. You can’t have much faith in the pen after that.
Still, unlike the Reds finale the game was still close; the Mets left Looper in. Chipper singled, and Andruw was hit by a pitch, then Julio walked. Bases loaded! Looper out for Shingo Takatsu. But Francoeur fouled out to first, and McCann popped out. So Langerhans came up and singled, the Joneses score, game over, Mets season all but over.
The Marlins pummelled the Natspos, and the Astros beat the Phillies. The lead is 6 1/2 on Florida, 8 on Philadelphia, which suddenly has lost five in a row. If the Braves went .500 the rest of the way, they would wind up 92-70, and the Marlins would have to go 18-5 (.783) to tie. The Braves take today off as they begin the last extended road trip of the season, ten games in Washington, Philly, and New York. Ramirez-Loaiza Friday night on Turner South, though it will also be carried at least in some places on ESPN.