The rest of the night was pretty tame, just enjoying free hot dogs and pizza and watching the Braves struggle to come back against the Nationals. That is, until the ninth inning when Jeff Francoeur came to the plate. What an ending to a great game, and a great day.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brian McCann got things started with a homerun to right on the very first pitch he saw from Nats closer Chad Cordero. On the very next pitch, Ryan Langerhans scortched a single to center. Giles followed with a single to right, Renteria hit into a force play that erased Langerhans, and then Chipper singled off of the second baseman's glove on a diving attempt for the ball. Andruw struck out looking for the second out, and then Jeff Francoeur came to bat. He was patient at the plate for the first pitch, and then unleashed the full force of his swing and connected on a grand slam homerun to left field.
After the game Francoeur said this about the homerun, "I don't know if I felt better about that homerun or the first one I hit in my first game." In the clubhouse he was all smiles in talking to reporters about his 'slam.
Bobby Cox was in a hurry to get home, but was asked about Sosa's performance and said that "he looked the same as he did when we first got him." This could be the typical Bobby Cox question dodge; he has been doing it for decades.
Francoeur was so elated rounding the bases he was thinking about taking his helmet off like he had seen David Ortiz do. But he thought better of it, as he didn't want "to get pounded on the head." There was a great moment when Francoeur was being interviewed by an FSN journalist and Tim Hudson walked by and said, "Frenchy, you suck," with a devious smile on his face.
A couple of hitting streaks were extended tonight. Francoeur extended his to a career high-tying 11 games including his first career grand slam and his first career walk-off homer. Chipper Jones extended his quiet hitting streak to 12 games, and has now hit safely in 21 of the 23 games he's played this season.
Well that puts an end to my night as a member of the media. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have several people to thank. Though they would probably never read this, I would like to thank Jeff Schultz and David O'Brien of the AJC and Mark Bowman of MLB.com, they were nicer than they had to be to me. After all, I'm just some 'fan' off the streets whose invaded their territory. Thanks also to Brad Hainje, Braves Director of Media Relations, who approves all press passes, and no doubt approved mine. And lastly, a huge thanks to fellow Talking Chop blogger Joe Hamrahi, who gave me this opportunity in the first place.
I'll also be submitting another article to be published over at Baseball Digest Daily in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that.
Washington 5, Atlanta 8 at Turner Field
Washington Record: (12-25)
Atlanta Record: (17-19)
Winning pitcher - Chris Reitsma (1-1)
Losing pitcher - Chad Cordero (1-1)