Hello once again from the Horton home in southeast Michigan, where it seems there was evidence of an earthquake on the Richter Scale when Freddie Freeman came through in the bottom of the ninth with a two out, bases loaded single off Brian Wilson of the Giants to give the Braves a 5-4 win. Whew, what a game!
This game was a nail-biter all the way through. The Giants scored twice on solo home runs by their version of the “Bash Brothers”, Nate Schierholtz (who homered in the sixth) and Mike Fontenot (who homered in the eighth, having entered the game in the bottom of the first as a replacement for Pablo Sandoval, who injured himself hitting a foul ball off his foot). By the way, these two gentlemen now have a total of 12 home runs combined on the season, which also is the same number of homers that Tim Hudson has allowed in total this season. Just proves that “you never know”.
The other two Giants runs were a gift from Michael Bourn, though Tim Hudson did chip in on them. Bourn misjudged a fly ball off the bat of Aubrey Huff, then made a nice recovery only to have the ball come out of his glove. Hudson then did his part, walking Nate Schierholtz and hitting Brandon Belt. Orlando Cabrera and Eli Whiteside followed with sacrifice flies. The net result was two unearned runs, scored without benefit of a hit. Yikes!
The Braves briefly led the game, as Brian McCann hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first and the team strung together three singles by Freddie Freeman, Alex Gonzalez and Jose Constanza to plate another run in the second.
The teams traded counter-punches for most of the game, with Tim Hudson going eight innings for the Braves and Madison Bumgarner going seven for the Giants. Javier Lopez put up a scoreless eighth for San Francisco, setting the stage for the dramatic comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
As you would expect, the Giants brought on their closer, Brian Wilson, with the intention of adding the Braves to a long list of teams that had lost when the Giants scored four or more and led going into the ninth. The Braves countered with an offense that led all of baseball in ninth inning, come from behind wins. Could it be any better than that?
Jose Constanza got things started for the Braves with an infield single to shortstop. Pinch hitter Eric Hinske then worked Wilson for a walk. Michael Bourn followed with a textbook sacrifice bunt, making the third baseman field the ball and throw to first. With runners on second and third, Martin Prado hit a grounder to left for a single, scoring Jose Constanza and sending pinch-runner Julio Lugo to third. With runners on first and third, Brian McCann stepped to the plate. Wilson wanted nothing to do with him, walking him on four straight pitches to load the bases. Up came Dan Uggla, who entered the game hitting 5 for 8 against Wilson. Regardless, Wilson handled Uggla with relative ease, striking him out swinging. That set up the fateful match-up with Freddie Freeman, whose single scored Lugo and Prado for the win. Incredible!
In the greater scheme of things, I guess a win is a win. But in my book, this was a big win. With this one in the bank, the pressure is all on the Giants. Even if they win the next two, they will only have gained one game (net) on the Braves in the standings. While that wouldn’t be great, it is light years better than getting swept and losing three games. With the Braves sending a rookie (Randall Delgado) to the hill tomorrow and with Jair Jurrjens making his first start off the DL on Wednesday, there could have been a lot of pressure on the Braves instead.
Anyway, that’s my take on the game. I’m going to take a step back from a smoking keyboard and wait to see if any of you care to add your own perspective!