The Fateful Braves 9th
Boskie started this frame, facing 3 more Braves hitters. Philly’s “win expectancy” score was pegged at 100% — and had been since the 8th. I guess statistics are still something of an inexact science.
Klesko led off the home 9th with a single… a liner to right on the second pitch he saw. McGriff got himself on the board with a bloop to left in front a an oddly raucous crowd of … maybe 8,000 well-lubricated fans remaining?
After a Justice infield hit loaded the bases, Boskie was excused from further participation in his quest for a complete-game win.
The Phils had a couple of closer-worthy relievers. Both were used in this inning. The first was Doug Jones, but his role turned into that of “fire stoker” on this night.
3 hits in a row for the Braves weren’t enough, so Lemke and O’Brien both singled as well … scoring all three of the runners already on base. Now it’s 8-4 and things are getting quite a bit interesting as Atlanta had 5 consecutive singles… and still nobody out.
Then Mike Mordecai stepped in and stopped the single streak… by crushing a 3-run homer to left.
Think he looks fresh-faced in the video? Yeah – this was his first major league hit after debuting just 2 days before this game…and what a hit it was!
Okay… that made the score 8-7, but now the rally has to start all over… there’s still nobody out, but also no one on base. Still, the remaining fans are definitely paying attention.
Bill Pecota (speaking of stats as we were) then finally made the first out — a comebacker to Jones. But then Neon-Deion dumped a ball into short left-center.
At that point, manager Jim Fregosi had seen enough and brought in Heathcliff Slocumb to try and finish this game. Or maybe that should have been the plan.
Slocumb induced a groundout from Dave Gallagher, but the speedy Sanders still made it to second base, as he was running on the play. That became a key play shortly afterward. Fregosi then turned to David West to get the final out.
Sorry, Philadelphia Phans, but that didn’t happen immediately: Javy Lopez singled to right field. That brought in Sanders and the game was tied. McGriff then popped out to end the 7-run inning… and now we’re suddenly going to extra innings.
The Braves had brought 11 to the plate, seeing only 26 pitches total in the inning. Despite all the pitching changes, this happened quick… just like it did with the Mets game on Thursday.
As Don Sutton noted during the inning (he was on fire himself this night) “It’s a good thing they checked the pulse of the corpse, because it still had one.”