Derek Lowe picked up his 5th victory Tuesday night, defeating the Colorado Rockies 5-3. Lowe went 5 1/3 innings allowing 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, and 4 Ks. He also picked up a key 2 out bases loaded double in the 4th that cleared the bases, giving him 3 RBIs and the Braves a 4-0 lead.
Freddie Freeman kicked off the scoring in the 2nd by stroking his 12th homer of the season, a solo shot. At this point, Freeman is a legitimate rookie of the year candidate. He’s batting .273 with 12 HR and 39 RBIs. Plus he has saved our infielders several errors with his play at first base.
In the 4th, All-Star Chipper Jones lead off with a ground rule double to left. Two outs (Freeman & Heyward) and two walks (Uggla & McClouth) later, it looked like Chipper might die there until Lowe stepped up and stroked a double down the third base line and into the left field corner. It almost looked like he knew what he was doing!
In the top of the 5th, Lowe got into some trouble after allowing a lead off hit followed by a walk. After getting 1 out, the pitcher (Jhoulys Chacin) hit a ground out for a RBI. Then Georgia native Blackmon got a hit to knock in another run to make the score 4-2.
In the Rockies’ 6th, Lowe put 2 on with 1 out so Gonzalez brought in George Sherrill. Sherrill struck out the only batter he faced then Fredi brought in Cory Gearrin. Gearrin gave up a RBI hit to Iannetta then got the final out with a K.
In our 6th, Uggla(!) completed the scoring with a lead off homer, his 13th. Uggla actually had a good game. Batting 7th, he picked up 2 walks, the homer, and a nice double to right center. He now has 12 doubles and 30 RBIs and raised his average to .178 (oof). Please keep him at the bottom of the lineup until he really starts to hit–please.
O’Flaherty pitched a scoreless 7th (1.13 ERA). Venters came on in the 8th and got in to some trouble. After a walk and a single, he got a ground out and 2 strikeouts including PH Jason Giambi to end the threat.
Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th and earned his 26th save, tying the Red Sox’ Jonathan Papelbon for most saves by a rookie prior to the All-Star break. He picked up 2 more strikeouts, giving him 69 in 44 innings. His last pitch of the night was 99 mph for a strike. Kimbrel was voted NL Rookie of the Month for his great month of June.
Lowe also picked up his 1600th career strikeout in this game. McCann went 0-4 with a strikeout. I’ll dispute the K however–McCann foul tipped the pitch and the ball obviously bounced into the catcher’s glove, well obvious to everyone except the home plate umpire. Why the umpire refused to check with the other umps as their views were not obstructed by the catcher, I don’t know. Later in the game, McCann was struck dead on in the family jewels by a foul tip while catching. It took him quite a while to recover–he had a rough night.
Prado Update: Martin Prado (staph infection) is ready to start a rehab assignment with AAA Gwinnett. That means he should be at CoolRay Field this weekend for a 3 game series starting Friday. He doesn’t think he’ll be ready to rejoin the Braves until after the All-Star break which means he’ll miss next weekend’s Phillies series. We’ll see.
Chipper Update: Chipper received a cortisone shot Sunday in his right knee for continued soreness due to a cartilage tear. He sat out Monday but was back in the lineup Tuesday and plans to participate in the All-Star game which means no surgery over the break.
Tonight’s Game: Rockies RH Aaron Cook vs RH Jair Jurrjens at 7:10 on WPCH Peachtree TV. Fear Jair! Go Braves!