Hello again everyone from the summer paradise of southeast Michigan, where it’s about 70 degrees as it approaches 1:30 EST.
The Braves “Summer Paradise” tour of the Pacific Northwest continued tonight as well, with the Braves besting the Mariners in an exciting 5-4 contest that featured good hitting, defense, and a little offense too.
Tommy Hanson battled rust early on, as hanging sliders cost him 3 runs in the first four innings, including a lead-off homer by Ichiro Suzuki (his first home run of the year) and a long blast by Jack Cust. As the game went on Tommy got sharper and sharper, winding up with eight strikeouts and six hits in six innings. In holding Seattle to 3 runs, he also racked up a “quality start” in what by rights should have been a rehab appearance for him.
The biggest jam of the night came courtesy of none other than George Sherrill. Sherrill gave up 3 hits and a walk to the 5 hitters he faced. He was saved from a disastrous outing by Brian McCann, who threw out a runner on the back end of a double steal attempt for the second out of the inning. Scott Proctor relieved Sherrill and recorded the last out of the inning.
Jonny Venters came in to pitch the eighth inning and got the Mariners three up and three down. It was not a boring half inning, though. Venters was actually throwing harder than I’ve ever seen him throw, sitting at 96-98 with his fastball. The extra velocity seemed to impair his sink, as the first two batters squared up the ball, hitting deep line drives to right. The second batter, Jack Cust, actually hit the ball harder than the ball that went for a home run, except without backspin, allowing Jason Heyward to make a great catch running into the scoreboard. Venters retired the last batter on strikes, as his fastball settled in at 94-95 MPH.
Craig Kimbrell notched his 22nd save in 27 tries, striking out two around a single and a wild pitch in the ninth. The game was in doubt all the way to the last pitch, which resulted in a pop up out to Alex Gonzalez off the bat of Justin Smoak.
On the offensive side, it was once again a tale of few hits. Brian McCann had four singles and two RBI’s, Dan Uggla hit his 12th homer, and Jordan Schafer had a clutch RBI single in the seventh, scoring the third run for the Braves and tying the game 3-3 at that point. McCann followed with his two RBI single that gave the Braves a 5-3 lead and the cushion they needed to withstand Sherill’s performance. In total, their eight hits, six walks, and a hit batsman gave the Braves the most base-runners they’ve had in quite some time. I know it’s only one game, but I’m hereby declaring it a trend!