The Braves defeated the Cubs 3-0 last night in Chicago using a familiar formula, good starting pitching and home runs. Atlanta got a much needed good start from Jair Jurrjens as he went 6 1/3 innings and “scattered” 8 hits and 5 walks while allowing no runs.
The Braves scored early on a second inning solo homer by Freddie Freeman(18 HR, 63 RBIs). In the third, Jose Constanza led off with a single and stole second. Jurrjens put down a sac bunt that pitcher Ryan Dempster fielded and for some crazy reason tried to get Constanza at third instead of taking the out at first. That put runners at first and third. After Michael Bourn struck out, Martin Prado had a RBI(50th) ground out to make the score 2-0. In the sixth, Dan Uggla hit a massive home run(30 HR, 66 RBIs) over the left field bleachers and on to the street to complete the scoring at 3-0.
Jurrjens wiggled out of trouble in the first when he got Marlon Byrd to hit into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning. He got his lone strikeout vs Carlos Pena in the third with 2 on and 2 out. In the fifth, the Cubs really should have scored. With 2 outs, Ramirez and Pena each singled putting runners at 1st and 2nd. Byrd hit a single to Bourn in center but the Cubs’ third base coach chose to hold Ramirez at third (I think he would have scored easily). Then Soriano flew out and that was that.
Arodys Vizcaino relieved Jurrjens with 1 out in the seventh and retired the two batters he faced. Eric O’Flaherty pitched a scoreless 8th. Fredi Gonzalez gave Craig Kimbrel the night off so Jonny Venters came on in the 9th. He walked the first two but then got the next three for his 5th save. Jurrjens is now 13-5 with a 2.71 ERA. This was his first victory since the all-star break.
The only negative of the night came in the sixth when Constanza slightly sprained his right ankle on the bag beating out an infield hit. That probably means Jason Heyward will get the start tonight.
Tonight’s Game: LH Mike Minor (3-2, 4.26 ERA) vs RH Casey Coleman at 8:05 on Peachtree TV.
Injury Update: Tommy Hanson(shoulder tendinitis) is tentatively scheduled to make a rehab start with AAA Gwinnett on Saturday. Mike Minor starts for him tonight and will probably get another start before Hanson is back with the Braves.
Peter Moylan pitched an inning for AAA Gwinnett and reported no problem with his surgically repaired back. The Braves hope to bring Moylan back on Sept. 1 when rosters are expanded.
Standings: The Braves are 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. We are 8 1/2 games up on the Giants and 9 1/2 games up on the Cardinals for the wild card lead.
Around the League: The Phillies put Jimmy Rollins (groin) and Cole Hamels (shoulder) on the 15 day DL and recalled Placido Polanco from the DL.
Giants closer Brian Wilson is on the 15 day DL with an elbow issue. He hasn’t pitched since he blew that save against the Braves.
The Astros are sending down a pitcher to make room for former Brave Jordan Schafer who has been on the DL. I hope he does well–I know it’s a bummer to go from the Braves and possible playoffs to the Astros and the worst record in baseball.
Former Brave Kevin Millwood won his first game in nearly a year for the Rockies over the Dodgers.
This and That: The Georgia (Warner Robins) little leaguers take on Pennsylvania tonight at 8:00 on ESPN2 in an elimination game in the LLWS.
I went to the Gwinnett AAA Braves game today at 10:35 am vs the Charlotte Knights(White Sox). I thought it would be a fun way to spend the morning. Turns out, I spent my afternoon there too. We scored 6 runs early then let them score six. It went 13 or 14 innings, I have to admit I lost track. We finally scored again to win 7-6. There were 3500 people there when it started and about 300 when it ended. It was a fun way to spend my last day of summer.