Brandon Beachy finally won his first major league game last night with six innings of 2 hit ball against the Dodgers striking out 7 and walking two. . A Prado solo homer leading off in the sixth off Hiroki Kuroda put the Brave on top. Another solo blast this time from Freeman in the 7th would be all the Braves would need on the night. The Dodgers pulled one back in their half of the 7th off of Scott Linebrink but Venters put the fire out without further damage and had a 1-2-3 eighth inning to record a hold. In the top of the ninth the Braves took batting practice as the Dodger pen collapsed.
It wasn’t pretty. After seeing our pen do a similar thing I sort of felt sorry for the Dodger fans, McClouth led off the ninth with a walk and that brought pinch hitter Eric Hinske to the plate. He promptly launched one of his patented fence scraping home runs into the short right field porch to put the Braves up 4-1. Prado walked and after Jason Heyward flied out to center back to back singles by Chipper and McCann brought Prado home. The Dodgers brought on Ramon Troncoso to replace Kelly Jansen at this point and Dan Uggla welcomed him with a three-run homer to left. Freeman then doubled, Gonzalez drove him in with a single and a McClouth single moved AGon to third. Hinske’s second trip to the plate resulted in another RBI as his single drove Gonzales home. Prado ended the Dodgers’ misery by grounding into a double pay to end the inning. Cristhian Martinez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with the help of two superb stops by Gonzales deep in the hole at short and equally great picks by Freeman at first.
The numbers will make this game look more one sided than it was but they came off pitchers (Jansen and Troncoso) who were either wild off the plate or over the fat part of it. Kuroda had cruised through the first five innings without a significant threat from the Braves who, until the the solo homer by Prado, had little luck with Kuroda’s sinker. The Freeman homer in the top of the seventh was only the fourth hit off Kuroda who left after allowing a single to McClouth. Kuroda walked only three and struck out four. On most nights that would have been good enough to win but the Dodgers never had a sniff of a threat off Brandon Beachy who set down twelve in a row after a first inning double by Ethier and an intentional walk to Kemp.
This was a good win after a series of not so good performances. While Heyward hit second again tonight he was no more effective there than McClouth has been this year. The lineup is going to have to find a way to consistently produce runs off of good pitching as well as feasting on not so good pitching. Let’s hope this gives them the confidence to do that.
Tonight Derek Lowe goes on short rest against John Garland who is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA so far this year. The numbers suggest this might be a good chance to win two in a row and guarantee us a series split.