Game 16 Recap: Braves 4, Reds 3


For the past two games, the base on ball has been the Atlanta Braves best friend.

On Wednesday, a bases loaded walk in the ninth inning gave Atlanta a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Tonight, 10 walks allowed collectively by the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching staff fueled an Atlanta (8-8) one-run victory.

Seven of those free passes were turned in by Reds (9-7) starting pitcher Edinson Volquez.

Despite the lack of control, Volquez (2-2) limited the Braves to just one hit and three runs in five innings while striking out seven.

The bulk of the right-hander’s problems began in the fourth inning when he walked five batters, including two with the bases loaded which gave the Braves a short lived 2-1 lead.

Atlanta would strike again in the fifth, when right fielder Jeff Francoeur (1-for-3, two walks) tallied the Braves first hit when he launched a solo home run over the center field fence. Atlanta tacked on another run in the seventh on a Matt Diaz (1-for-4) two-out RBI single of reliever Nick Masset.

The timely offense matched yet another brilliant performance from Javier Vazquez (2-1). He tossed six strong innings, allowing seven hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk while striking out nine batters on 102 pitches.

The only real trouble Vazquez endured came in the fourth inning where he gave up an RBI single to shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

The Atlanta bullpen came through again in the ladder innings. Peter Moylan threw a scoreless seventh inning, Rafael Soriano allowed his first run of the season on a sacrifice fly in the eighth and closer Mike Gonzalez struck out the final two batters in the ninth to pick up the save.

The Braves will face Cincinnati on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. in game two of the three-game series. Derek Lowe is the scheduled starter for Atlanta.


– Vazquez, out of nowhere, has turned into a dominant strikeout pitcher. He had nine overall tonight and seven through the first four innings. On the season, he has  34 strikeouts in 24 innings and has only walked seven batters. Just fantastic pitching.

– Two of the Braves four hits in the game produced runs.

– Atlanta hitters were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 11 runners on base.

– Volquez walked seven in the first four innings without giving up a hit — that folks is tough to do. He threw 40 pitches in the fourth inning while giving up five base-on-balls and allowing two runners to score via the free pass.

– Happy Birthday Chipper Jones! Our third baseman celebrated his 37th birthday with a forgettable  0-for-5 performance, which included four ground outs. This coming despite his career 18-for-36 output — which includes four home runs — on April 24.

– The benches cleared in the third inning when Volquez hit shortstop Yunel Escobar with a fastball in the back. Escobar walked toward the mound and both dugouts and bullpens met at the pitcher’s mound. However, no punches were thrown and peace was restored.

Greg Norton needs to start a game and soon. He’s 0-for-12 this season with all of his at-bats coming as a pinch hitter. You can’t expect Norton to break out of this slump if he’s seeing only one at-bat every two or three days.

Brian McCann was out of the lineup once again — a late game-time scratch. According to Mark Bowman of, the catcher experienced additional blurred vision in his left eye during batting practice and may have to under go Lasik surgery. He is doubtful for the final two games of this series.