Game 17 Recap: Braves 10, Reds 2
When it was announced this morning that Brian McCann would be heading to the disabled list, the general consensus among those following the Atlanta Braves (9-8) was that the offense would suffer.
However, that skepticism was quickly set aside this afternoon.
Third baseman Chipper Jones and shortstop Yunel Escobar led an offensive attack that struck early and often, while starting pitcher Derek Lowe kept the Reds (9-8) bats at bay.
Atlanta went right to work in the first inning as the first four batters of the game reached base, culminating in a two-run inning via RBI singles from Escobar (3-for-4, four RBIs) and Jones (2-for-4, four RBIs).
The Braves scored four more times off Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo in the second when Escobar drove in a run on a base hit and Jones connected on a towering three-run home run — both hits coming with two men out in the inning. Atlanta added three more in the sixth on an Escobar two-run homer and a David Ross RBI double and in the ninth when pinch hitter Greg Norton delivered a run-scoring double.
Arroyo finished with a dreadful line of nine hits and nine earned runs in just 5 2/3 innings. He walked three while striking out five.
While the bats stole the show, Lowe tossed an absolute masterpiece in seven innings of work. He allowed just four hits, two earned runs and two walks while striking out eight Reds on 109 pitches.
Lowe’s only mistake of the game came in the second inning when he surrendered a one-out two-run home run to shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
When he ran into trouble in the fifth with runners on second and third and no one out, he turned the switch on to perfect, striking out Chris Dickerson, Darnell McDonald and Joey Votto consecutively.
Eric O’ Flaherty and Jeff Bennett each threw a scoreless inning as Atlanta’s bullpen continues it’s strong work.
The Braves go for the sweep on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Kenshin Kawakami is the scheduled starter for Atlanta.
– Sweet and Lowe: Derek was outstanding this afternoon. The sinker returned in fine fashion and he mixed up his pitches extremely well. I can’t say enough about that fifth inning where, with two runners in scoring position, Lowe struck out three batters in a row (the Reds No. 1, 2 and 3 hitters).
– Redemption for the Braves! After last night’s fiasco with Escobar being hit (I believe purposely) in the ribs by a pitch from Edinson Volquez leading to the benches clearing, Lowe returned the favor in the first inning of today’s game when he nailed Votto in the ribs with a fastball. What’s more, Escobar and Jones took their aggression out on Arroyo, combining for two home runs and eight RBIs. No better way to get back at the opposition than by the bat.
– Escobar was hit by a pitch again today — this time on the hand. Both benches were warned, but no one was ejected.
– Speaking of ejections, we had two Reds tossed on the afternoon — Manager Dusty Baker and centerfielder Jerry Hairston, Jr. — for arguing balls and strikes. A word of advice, never argue balls and strikes. You will never, I repeat NEVER, win that fight.
– CF Jordan Schafer was 2-for-2 on the day. That’s not the story, though. What is are the two walks he took. The 22-year old has shown more patience this week at the plate and it’s paying off. He could soon be making his way toward the top of the order.
– Other Notes: Casey Kotchman (2-for-5) extended his hitting streak to seven-games. Also, Norton got off the schneid with a ninth-inning RBI double. It was his first hit and pinch hit of the season after starting the year 0-for-12.