On a night when the Braves inducted former Braves manager Bobby Cox into their hall of fame and unveiled his retired #6 alongside other Braves’ greats, the Braves put an old fashioned beat down on the Cubs stroking 5 home runs on the way to a 10-4 win Friday night in Atlanta.
In front of a packed house of 50,146 fans, Dan Uggla got things started for the Braves in the 2nd by stroking a solo homer to center to extend his hitting streak to 32 games, setting a new Atlanta franchise record. Chipper then singled and David Ross singled him to third. Jose Constanza followed with a drag bunt down the first base line to knock in Chipper, making it 2-0. Constanza avoided the tag but was called out because he was out of the base path.
In the third, the Cubs picked up a run on a lead off double by Baker and then a 2 out dink single to left by Reed Johnson. In the Braves’ third, Freddie Freeman hit a 2 out double, Uggla was hit by a pitch, then Chipper Jones blasted a 3 run homer to dead center (10 HR, 52 RBIs) to make it 5-1. It was Chipper’s 1,000th career extra base hit.
In the 4th, Constanza hit a high opposite field homer that barely cleared the left field fence, making it 6-1 (2 HR, 7 RBIs). Then things got really interesting in the Braves fifth. Freeman stepped up and smacked a 1 out solo homer to deep left center (16 HR, 58 RBIs). Uggla followed that with his second homer of the night (26 HR, 60 RBIs) to make it 8-1. Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano then threw 2 pitches way inside to Chipper and the umpire threw Zambrano out of the game. Some of the Braves bench was ready to spring to Chipper’s defense, but Zambrano just walked off the field so thankfully nothing happened there. I think Zambrano was just relieved his night was finally over.
In the Cubs sixth, Braves pitcher Mike Minor got 2 outs but he also allowed a walk and a hit by Pena. Alfonso Soriano followed that with double to left that Martin Prado had in his glove but dropped when he smashed into the wall, scoring 2 and ending Minor’s night. Minor finished with 5 2/3 IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 BB, and 6 Ks, bringing his record to 2-2 with ERA of 4.82. Cristhian Martinez got the final out of the inning. Young call up Arodys Vizcaino pitched the 7th and 8th, and looked sharp hitting 95-97 mph while allowing no runs, 1 hit, and 1 strikeout. Another new call up, Anthony Varvaro, pitched the ninth and struck out the side. Unfortunately, he also gave up a solo homer to Castro.
In the Braves sixth, David Ross singled then Constanza hit a line drive off the pitcher’s knee that rebounded to Aramis Ramirez at third but he threw the ball away, leaving Braves runners at first and third. Brooks Conrad then hit a pinch hit RBI single (11 RBIs) followed by a Michael Bourn sac fly RBI (38 RBIs) to finally end the Braves scoring for the night at 10 runs.
After the game, Carlos Zambrano had cleaned out his locker and disappeared, telling some teammates that he was retiring.
The Braves had a nice pre-game ceremony honoring Bobby Cox and the 1991 Braves team who were also there. Bobby threw out the first pitch to Chipper Jones then the home plate umpire asked if he could run him up and Bobby said sure, so the umpire threw him out of the game for the last time.
On a great night for Braves baseball, there was some sad news however. Former Braves pitcher and longtime Braves announcer Ernie Johnson Sr. passed away Friday at the age of 87 after a long illness. His wife and children, including TNT announcer Ernie Johnson, were with him. I grew up listening to Ernie, first with Milo Hamilton then with Skip and Pete. We had alot of bad, bad teams back then but Ernie helped make them fun to watch and listen to.