We’ve seen this before, haven’t we? Up and down games, lots of pitchers used, won with home run heroics well into extra play. Fortunately, it’s mostly been the Braves coming out of top, as it was last night.
The Braves set up Mike Minor with a bunch of runs last night, and it was 5-1 after three innings. In the first, Michael Bourn led off with a single, then Martin Prado hit a ground-rule double and Freddie Freeman walked to load the bases. They couldn’t get a hit but it didn’t matter so much as first Bourn and then Prado scored on passed balls. Chipper Jones actually walked to make it first-and-third, but there were no more passed balls to be found.
The Cardinals got a run back with a solo homer in the secon, then the Braves offense went back to work. Two more ground rule doubles, both with one out, one by Dan Uggla and one by Brian McCann, added one run. Chipper singled in McCann and then advanced on an error. With two out, Pastornicky hit — yes — a ground-rule double to make is 5-1.
Minor was cruising, until the fourth, when he allowed back-to-back solo homers, the first by Carlos Beltran, who was just getting started… I am basically Captain Hook, as I’ve mentioned. If you leave a starter in to get a win, he will usually blow the lead. As in this case. With two out in the fifth, Minor lost it. He gave up two singles (the first to Rafael Furcal), then a double to John Jay and finally a triple to Beltran to give the Cards a 6-5 lead. He finally went to the pen, in the person of Chad Durbin.
Cristhian Martinez took over from Durbin in the sixth and in the seventh Uggla hit a homer to tie it at six. Medlen pitched the seventh. In the eighth, the Braves loaded the bases in various ways but couldn’t get the scoring hit. (Eric Hinske, after striking out pinch-hitting argued with the umpire and was ejected, though he was leaving the game anyway.) Eventually, Heyward scored on a Freddie Freeman infield single.
The lead didn’t last long. With one out in the eighth, Beltran homered again, this time against Jonny Venters, to make it 7-7. It would stay that was for some time. Livan Hernandez came in to pitch starting the tenth, and was in trouble during both it and the eleventh. He got a double play to get out of bases-loaded in the tenth, and a popup with a two-out bases-loaded jam in the eleventh.