The Braves defeated the Marlins 8-5 Monday night in Miami behind some clutch hitting and a good pitching performance from Derek Lowe. Lowe was able to wriggle out of some major jams early without any significant damage and pitched well through 6. He finished with 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 3 BB, and 3 Ks bringing his record to 7-10 with an ERA of 4.78.
Lowe loaded the bases in the first with only 1 out but was able to induce a ground ball double play to escape the jam. In the Braves’ top of the 2nd, David Ross drew a 1 out walk that Jose Constanza followed with a single. Lowe then put down a good sacrifice bunt to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. Michael Bourn hit a RBI single (36 RBIs). Martin Prado stroked a RBI ground rule double (40 RBIs) to the deepest part of the ballpark. Freddie Freeman then hit a single to knock in 2 more (57 RBIs) to make the score 4-0.
In the Marlins’ 3rd, Lowe allowed a lead off single to pitcher Brad Hand followed by 2 more singles to load the bases with no outs. After a strikeout, Lowe walked Stanton on a 3-2 count to force in a run. It could easily be argued that 3 of the 4 balls should have been called strikes by umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Gaby Sanchez then hit a ground out RBI to make the score 4-2.
In the 4th, Wendelstedt called another close Lowe pitch a ball. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez made some comments from the dugout, upon which Wendelstedt removed his mask and said the ball was “a foot inside” (which it certainly was not). Fredi said something back and the umpire threw him out of the game. While I understand that you can’t argue balls and strikes, Gonzalez didn’t say much and remained in the dugout. No one would have even known that he said anything if the umpire hadn’t drawn attention to it by removing his mask and engaging Fredi.
In the Braves’ 5th, Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 29 games by hustling to beat out an infield single. Chipper followed with a single. Then Alex Gonzalez smacked a massive 3 run homer (10 HR, 40 RBIs) to make it 7-2. In the Braves’ 6th, Bourn led off with a single, stole 2nd and took 3rd on the errant throw. Uggla then picked up a sac fly RBI (56 RBIs) to make it 8-2.
Cristhian Martinez pitched a clean 7th. He returned for the 8th and allowed a lead off homer to Dobbs but then retired the side. Scott Proctor (or “homer machine”) came on in the 9th. He walked Mike Cameron to start the inning. After a strikeout, he allowed his customary home run this time to John Buck. He then walked another batter so the Braves had to bring in Craig Kimbrel to complete the game. Kimbrel struck out the next 2 batters to gain his league leading 35th save.
Also in the Braves’ 8th, Wendelstedt punched Freeman out on a checked swing third strike. Freeman argued that he should have checked with 3rd base umpire, then turned his back and tossed his helmet and bat aside. After he tossed the helmet, Wendelstedt pointed at him (signaling a fine) then he threw him out of the game when he tossed his bat. Freeman was shocked because he had his back turned and was walking away, not even realizing that he had been fined. Wendelstedt seemed just a little too anxious to throw out Braves in this one.