9th Inning Rally Gives Braves Series Win in LA
Dodgers closer, Javy Guerra, must be sick of the sight of the Atlanta Braves. For the second night in succession he took the loss as the Braves staged a late comeback to take a 4-2 victory and win their fifth straight series.
For eight innings the Braves were virtually shut down by the Dodgers staff, mustering four hits and just one run, courtesy of Dan Uggla’s 4th inning single. Yet Guerra’s ninth inning problems gave the Braves a hard earned win, which for a long while seemed unlikely. It all started well for Guerra as he retired Martin Prado, but he then gave up five consecutive base hits to Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann, Uggla, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward, the latter three for RBIs. This ensured the Braves overturned a 2-1 deficit and it proved all the lead their own closer, Craig Kimbrel, would need as he retired the Dodgers in order in the bottom half of the ninth.
"What a game that was," said McCann. "Our bullpen was fantastic again tonight and we can't say enough good things about them. We got some big at-bats in the ninth inning and it was enough for tonight."
The win was testament to the strength of the Braves’ pitching staff. Following Mike Minor’s quality start on Tuesday, Brandon Beachy followed up with a solid outing of his own. He went 6.1 innings and gave up two earned runs on seven hits, striking out six. Though not enough for him to earn the win, Beachy’s effort kept the game close enough for the ninth inning rally to occur. Up to that point, the difference between the teams was red-hot Matt Kemp’s Major League leading 10th home run of the season, a solo shot in the 6th.
Beachy departed in the 7th after giving up a single to Dee Gordon. But Chad Durbin and Eric O’Flaherty ended the threat and after Jonny Venters struck out the side in the 8th inning, the stage was set for a memorable comeback.
For the Dodgers, Ted Lilly had been looking for his third win of the season and was unlucky not to get it after a stellar performance. Lilly proved economical in the extreme in his pitching, tossing just 79 pitches in seven complete innings. He had given up just the one run on three hits with a walk before being pulled for a pinch hitter. That decision would be rued by manager, Don Mattingly, half an hour later.
25th April 2012