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Braves Squander Opportunities, Lose To L.A. In Extras

McCann's mammoth homerun was not enough.
McCann's mammoth homerun was not enough.

The Braves couldn't hold a lead at all tonight. Tim Hudson was unable to hold two leads that the Braves gave him. The Braves got a run in the third inning on a Jason Heyward single, but Huddy gave it right back to the Dodgers in the bottom half of the fourth. The next inning the Braves went back on top by three runs, including two homeruns by Martin Prado and Brian McCann. The McCann shot was only the 19th homerun to reach the Loge level in Dodger Stadium history -- it was a mammoth shot.

With a comfortable three-run lead, Hudson should have settled in and cruised the rest of the way, but he immediately had problems in the bottom of the fifth and gave the Dodgers those three runs back. It was a tale of two games from Hudson, as the first three innings he looked unhittable, but the second and third time through the order the Dodgers got to him.

The Braves had several opportunities to take the lead in the late innings. Their bats went dormant from the sixth to the eighth innings, and after a lead-off double by pinch hitter Brooks Conrad in the ninth, the Braves looked like they had a great opportunity to score. But Dodgers' closer Jonathan Broxton struck out the next three batters. Even though Conrad stole third, the Braves couldn't make contact and get him in.

The Braves had two runners in scoring position in the tenth inning, but couldn't get a run home. And they had an opportunity to produce a run in the eleventh, but came up empty. They were a pitiful 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 men on base, and 5 men in scoring position with two out.

The Braves bullpen was un-hittable after Tim Hudson, that is until they got to Jesse Chavez. The weak link of the Atlanta pen walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the eleventh who, you guessed it, came around to score the winning run. The Dodgers actually bunted that lead-off walk over to second, and with only one out I was a little surprised not to see the Braves walk the next guy to setup a double play or a force out at third.

As angry as Martin Prado was in the ninth inning when he didn't advance a runner, he did have a 3-hit day, including his fifth homerun. Yunel Escobar also stayed hot with another 2-hit day. Jonny Venters was filthy in his two innings of relief work, allowing no baserunners and striking out four. Hard to believe that not many people had Venters on their prospect lists coming into this season. Baseball America only ranked him as the Braves 30th-best prospect.

The Braves earn a disappointing split, but they went head to head against the other hottest team in baseball and were in every game. Hopefully they can take that good all-around play to Arizona on Monday.

Final - 6.6.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Atlanta Braves 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 12 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 10 0
WP: Ronald Belisario (1 - 0)
LP: Jesse Chavez (0 - 1)

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