Derrek Lee and David Ross brought the bats out tonight and guided the Braves to yet another home win. Lee went 3-3 with a walk, had the game's first RBI, and added a walk. Ross was 2-4 with a grand slam and a triple. Ross' homer was the dagger in the seven run fifth inning -- the team was leading just 4-2 at the time.
Jason Heyward had the go-ahead hit in the fifth on an RBI double to the left center field gap, which scored both Nate McLouth and Omar Infante. Heyward has been on a tear as of late and his hit tonight was crucial, especially since it was another big hit against a left-handed pitcher. Alex Gonzalez and Melky Cabrera also added RBI hits.
Mike Minor was not as spectacular as we have seen him but was able to get through five innings, which allowed him to earn his third win of the season. The left-handed rookie struck out four, walked two runs, and allowed ten hits. The following four Braves relievers -- Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Takashi Saito, and Peter Moylan -- retired every batter they faced.
Jon Niese certainly did not have his best stuff tonight, allowing 12 base runners over 4.2 innings. The Braves had 10 hits against him in his short outing.
The importance of David Ross was evident today. He had one of his best performances of the year a few days after being recognized on Fangraphs as close to the perfect backup catcher. For this team, he is undoubtedly perfect as the second stringer. Now that J.C. Boscan is up, Ross can be used in more pinch-hit situations which could benefit the team down the stretch. His great eye and significant power from the right-hand side of the plate have provided value since he joined the team.
Tomorrow, Mike Pelfrey and Tommy Hanson are the starters. The Braves have scored nine runs in each of the first two games and have allowed just five runs combined. This has been a great series so far, and the Braves can take it tomorrow with Hanson on the hill. The Phillies are winning 6-1 right now, so it looks like the division lead will stay at three games.