The Braves blew two leads on Monday night to the worst offensive team in baseball, the bullpen was mishandled again, and the team lost 5-3 in the 13th inning on a Ryan Ludwick home run.
Derek Lowe was on the mound for Atlanta and he pitched pretty well. He ended up tossing six innings of two runs baseball, and he struck out eight Padres in the process. Dustin Moseley started for San Diego and was equally effective, giving up just three runs over six innings on just four hits and no walks.
Jason Heyward got the Braves on the scoreboard in the 1st inning with a solo home run which just barely cleared the left field wall. That's his second home run in as many games, and he's basically one-third of the way to his home run total (19) in 2010.
The Padres strung some hits together in the 2nd inning to tie the game up. With runners on second and third, Will Venable weakly groundout to first baseman Freddie Freeman. The out was recorded, but the runner scored and it was a 1-1 game. Ryan Ludwick came up in the third inning and hit a solo-HR to left to give the Padres a 2-1 lead after three innings.
The Braves retook the lead in the fifth. Alex Gonzalez singled up the middle to score Freddie Freeman, and after moving into scoring position, Derek Lowe singled up the middle to score Gonzalez without a throw. That hit was the first from a Braves pitcher this year, and it should have been the deciding factor.
After Lowe exited, Fredi Gonzalez brought in Eric O'Flaherty for the 7th inning. After allowing a leadoff walk, O'Flaherty got the next batter on a sacrifice bunt and then got Chase Headley to strike out. Now one would think that a manager would leave his reliever in after just ten pitches, but no; Fredi Gonzalez brought in Scott Linebrink. To absolutely no one's surprise, Linebrink gave up a double which nearly cleared the 410 foot fence in center field. The game was tied 3-3.
There wasn't much offense for either club in innings 8-12. Chipper Jones hit his 500th career double in the 11th inning, but pinch-runner Brandon Hicks was thrown out at third after Brian McCann tapped a ball back to the pitcher. Nate McLouth led off the 12th inning with a leadoff single, but a poor bunt attempt by Cristhian Martinez got McLouth thrown out at 2nd base. Martin Prado was robbed of a bloop hit down the right field line, and Martinez inexplicably did not return back to first base. He was doubled off, and the threat was ended.
Another questionable bullpen decision was made in the bottom half of the 13th inning. After Martinez was forced to "run" the bases, Fredi Gonzalez sent him to the mound once again for his third inning of work. Craig Kimbrel, George Sherrill, and Jairo Asencio all had not been used. Martinez struggled with his first batter, but eventually got Chase Headley to line out. He walked Nick Hundley on eight pitches, which brought him up to 35 on the night. Surely Fredi Gonzalez would make a change now, right?
Wrong. He left Martinez in, and he gave up a 2-run home run to Ryan Ludwick. Braves lose 5-3.
Once again, Fredi Gonzalez held his team back. Sure, the Braves hitters didn't do much at the plate, but there was absolutely no reason to pull O'Flaherty in the 7th inning, and leaving Martinez on the mound while you have your best relief pitcher (and two others) in the bullpen is just plain stupid. That's solely on Fredi Gonzalez and no one else.
I miss Bobby Cox.
Ryan Ludwick - 2-for-6, 2HR, 3RBI
Alex Gonzalez - 2-for-5, RBI; Not necessarily for his hitting tonight, but Gonzalez was great in the field once again. The guy knows how to use his glove.
Cory Gearrin - 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2K, 0BB; Peter Moylan 2.0. Dude looked filthy in his Major League debut tonight.
The Braves did not draw one walk in thirteen innings. That's 44 at-bats without a walk. LOL.
The Braves and Padres will play again tomorrow night. Jair Jurrjens vs. Aaron Harang. First pitch is at 10:05.
FanGraphs Win Expectancy: