After a tough road trip, the Braves returned home for the first time in 2012 to a sellout crowd. Chipper led the team out onto the field, but that was the only action he would see all night, as swelling in his recently-repaired knee put him out of commission for his final home opener.
Going into Friday’s game, the Braves had won their last five match-ups against the Brewers at home. They set in to face Randy Wolf, who is 5-12 lifetime against the Braves with an ERA over 5.00; unfortunately for Wolf, his luck would not improve on Friday night.
The home team struck early as McCann drove in Bourn with an RBI double in the first, logging the first first-inning run the Braves have scored all year.
However, the lead wouldn’t last long, as Jurrjens gave up back-to-back home runs to former Brave Alex Gonzalez and George Kottaras (Milwaukee’s 7-8 hitters). The Gonzalez home run was particularly unforgivable, as just about everyone in the metro Atlanta area knows what a strikeout machine he is.
Uggla answered back with an RBI double to bring the score to 3-2. Wolf would hang tough until the fifth inning before things got really ugly for him.
The struggling Michael Bourn started the inning off with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the fifth. Freeman walked, then McCann dropped a three-run bomb to right that got the crowd at Turner Field on their feet for the first time in 2012. Uggla singled, then Diaz set out to prove there’s something left in the tank with a two-run homer of his own (his first since August 29th, 2010; that’s 138 games and 310 AB’s between long balls). Heyward added a single, and Wolf finally, mercifully, got the hook.
Only it wasn’t over. Marco Estrada walked Jurrjens, then Bourn drove in Heyward with his second hit of the inning. When the dust settled on this thirty-minute half inning, the Braves were up 8-3.
Jurrjens took the bump in the sixth poised to be the first Braves pitcher to make it past five innings this season. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be so lucky. JJ gave up hits to Ryan Braun (who was booed relentlessly all night) and Aramis Ramirez, then Corey Hart drove them both in with a double. Jurrjens was pulled without recording an out in the sixth, so technically the Braves still haven’t had a starting pitcher go more than five innings this year (which is, needless to say, abysmal). The fans at Turner gave him a sympathetic round of applause as he left, but truth be told it was not his best afternoon (5 earned on 7 hits in 5 innings). Medlen was brought in to clean up the mess and did so rather effectively.
McCann came up to bat in the sixth needing only a triple for the cycle (spolier alert: he doesn’t/can’t hit a triple, not since these shenanigans). He singled, but he did steal a base without a throw, which ties him for second place on the team with one steal. McCann had a monster night, going 4-5 with 4 RBI’s, a home run, and a rare SB.
From there, Fredi turned it over to Eric O’Flaherty and hoped to set the bullpen on autopilot to close out the game. But EOF, who hasn’t really looked comfortable on the mound all year, gave up a two-run single to Braun that cut the Braves lead to one. After a double play eliminated Braun, Corey Hart took him deep and the game was tied.
Dan Uggla would end up being the hero in this one, driving in Prado and McCann with a bat-shattering single in the eighth. From there, it was all over. Kimbrel came on and slammed the door in ninth, and the Braves brought the home crowd the first victory at the Ted in 2012 with a final score of Brewers 8, Braves 10.
After losing their first four games, the Braves find themselves on a three game winning streak and will hope to keep that momentum going against Shaun Marcum tomorrow. The Braves will send Minor to the hill, who is looking to bounce back from a six-run outing at New York. First pitch at 7:10, see you there.