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Friday, April 09, 2010

Marathon Ends With Some Controversy, Giants Victorious


The Braves went from cruising, to devastated, to excruciated and then disappointed.

The Giants erased the Braves' two-run lead with one out in the ninth and managed to push across a run four innings later, winning by a score of 5-4.

Tim Hudson, the Braves starter, was sharp from the start, allowing just two Giant baserunners through six innings. Jonathan Sanchez was as ineffective by comparison, as he left in the fifth inning trailing 2-0. The score became 3-0 when Matt Diaz singled in a run off Brandon Medders, the new pitcher. In the seventh, the Giants got on the board with two RBI groundouts following a single by Aaron Rowand and a double by Edgar Renteria. The Braves added a run in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk to David Ross, but left the bases loaded at the end of the inning.

Takashi Satio pitched a perfect eighth and the Braves were held off in the ninth. On Billy Wagner's first pitch in the bottom of the frame, Eugenio Velez smacked a double. Rowand struck out, but then Edgar Renteria hit a game-tying home run to send the game into extra innings.

The Braves left runners in scoring position in the 11th, unable to score off Brian Wilson or Sergio Romo. The Giants had a runner on second base with one out in the 11th but were held off by Peter Moylan. Pablo Sandoval reached second base on a bloop double to lead off the 12th against Kris Medlen and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. However, Travis Ishikawa's grounder wasn't deep enough in the infield to score Sandoval and Eli Whiteside struck out.

In the 13th, after Brian McCann went to second base on a throwing error by Affeldt, Kris Medlen was called out on missing a bunt attempt and Bobby Cox was tossed out arguing the call. Melky Cabrera flied out to right, Prado walked and Escobar flied out to right to end the inning.

The Giants' John Bowker flied out to right to start the 13th. Juan Uribe walked and tried to steal second base with two out and Aaron Rowand at the plate. Rowand swung and missed and may have hit McCann with his backswing because McCann threw the ball awkwardly into center field, allowing Uribe to move to third. Rowand then hit a grounder that got past Martin Prado into short left field. Escobar desperately tried to throw out Rowand, but was off the mark as Uribe scored and the Giants pulled out the victory.

My Commentary: The Braves may not miss Chipper Jones in this series, but it seemed as if the situational hitting problems that plagued Atlanta last year were happening again in this game. The Braves left 14 men on base and were 3-17 with runners in scoring position, including 0-3 in the 13th inning alone.

Jason Heyward continued to struggle as he garnered the Braves' second golden sombrero of the year. Since his home run to start his career, Heyward has been two for his last 17 with one walk and nine strikeouts. Only one of those strikeouts was of the looking variety.

Billy Wagner blew Tim Hudson's seven-inning start Friday afternoon. It was the first quality start of the year for the Braves' pitching staff. The team had 15 blown quality starts that ended up as losses last year.

Martin Prado is the sixth Brave since 1953 to get on base six or more times in a game and still have his team lose:

- CF Sonny Jackson, May 22, 1971: 4-4, 2B, BB, 3 R, ROE (New York 8, Atlanta 7, 11 inn.)
- LF Barry Bonnell, October 1st, 1978: 5-6, 2B, BB, 3 R, ROE (Cincinnati 10, Atlanta 8, 14 inn.)
- RF Claudell Washington, July 4th, 1985: 3-8, 3B, 2 BB, ROE (New York 16, Atlanta 13, 19 inn.)
- RF Dale Murphy, May 23, 1987: 1-3, 5 BB, 2 R (Chicago 7, Atlanta 6, 16 inn.)
- 3B Terry Pendleton, September 14, 1996: 5-5, 2B, BB, 3 R (New York 6, Atlanta 5, 12 inn.)
- 3B Martin Prado, April 9, 2010: 3-4, 3 BB, 2 R (San Francisco 5, Atlanta 4, 13 inn.)

Writer's Note: I did not see the entire game because of a previously-scheduled engagement, but I saw from the first to middle of the top of the fifth, then caught the 10th inning forward.

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