For the second night in a row the Padres fell to the Braves, this time by a score of 4-1. Unlike last night’s game the Pads never lead this one. They trailed early and made very little noise all night against Braves pitching.
Ross started and although he had plenty of fastball and slider to go to he allowed two to cross in the second. Markakis lead off with a single, and reached second on a grounder to third that appeared to bounce oddly handcuffing Middlebrooks to lead to only an out at first and not a double play. With two strikes Kelly Johnson got a pitch on the inner half that he was able to line into right field for a hit that scored Markakis. Johnson tried to steal second but Hedges gunned him down with a missile of a throw.
Then things got weird. Pierzynski reached first on a bizarre infield single. He hit a routine grounder to Alonso, so routine in fact that Yonder was already calling off Ross from covering first. Pierzynski couldn’t even bust out of the box, but jogged down the line with the bat still in his hand as though possibly injured. But the ball on the last hop hit something hard and bounded in the air over Yonder’s head. Yo reached up and was able to knock it down, and Ross alertly tried to get to the base to cover as Pierzynski dropped his bat and started to run to beat the throw. Ross, the ball, and Pierzynski all seemed to reach the base at the same time, but the ball tipped off the end of Tyson’s glove and Pierzynski was on with a very strange infield single.
The next batter was Simmons and the first pitch to him was actually sent behind him. Intended for his ribs as a payback for leaving the running lane and sliding into Norris at home last night? I’ll let you decide for yourself. Unfortunately as mentioned it missed him and went behind him for a wild pitch sending Pierzynski to second. Simmons then singled to plate Pierzynski, 2-0 Braves.
In the 3rd the Braves loaded the bases, but Ross escaped relatively cheaply with only one run crossing to make it a 3-0 Braves lead.
Braves starter, Williams Perez, meanwhile shut the offense down. There were some hard hit balls but only four found grass. Nothing especially electric in his repertoire, but he stayed on the corners and made very few mistakes on the plate. The Friars finally broke through in the 5th thanks to Spangenberg’s RBI double to make it 3-1, but that was the only run they could muster. Perez would go seven innings before the hand off to the bullpen.
The Braves scored an insurance run on the 7th to make it a 4-1 lead, while the Friars were only able to get one man on base the final four innings. The Braves now lead the series 2-1.
The Pads will put their hopes for a series split in the hands of Andrew Cashner tomorrow with the first pitch scheduled for 9:10 PST. Ted Leitner and I will be waiting for you with all the action on the Mighty 1090.