Remember the Atlanta Braves team that went 3-15 with RISP on Friday? Well, they fixed that problem Saturday afternoon with a huge outburst from the bats.
Mike Minor was on the hill for the Braves, and he faced the daunting challenge of pitching with the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. For a fly ball pitcher like Minor, that usually spells doom. Luckily the offense bailed out Mike by scoring 11. There’s the old Jack Morris joke, “I never lost with 10!” Well Mike wasn’t going to lose with 11 either.
The Cubs took the lead early with two runs in the first inning. The other team scoring first has been cause for alarm amongst Braves fans, considering that their last five losses all came that way. However, Chris Johnson wasn’t about to let the Cubs grab the early limelight, as he smashed a two-run homer in the second inning to tie the game 2-2. Andrelton Simmons made it 3-2 Braves after he hit a shot up the middle that scored B.J. Upton in the third inning. The Cubs tied the game in the bottom half of the third on a double.
Again Chris Johnson told the Cubs to back off. He hit a second homer in the fourth inning that plated two more runs, making the score 5-3 Braves. From there, the rout was on. Mike Minor got in on the act with a solo homer of his own to make it 6-3. You know the wind is really blowing out at Wrigley when the pitcher hits one out. Then Justin Upton hit a key double with the bases loaded, clearing the bags. That made the score 9-3 Braves, with the majority of the damage coming in the fourth inning.
The Cubs made it uncomfortable for Minor still by putting three more runs on the board. Still, the bullpen was able to come in for the final three innings and shut the door. The Braves added on two more runs in the ninth inning to make the final score 11-6. The team as a whole had 12 hits, five walks, three homers, three doubles, four 2-out RBIs and they went 6-9 with RISP. That kind of offensive production can really drive a Braves fan crazy. We all know what this team is capable of, and when we get glimpses of it like today, it just makes all the 0-8 RISP games more perplexing.
Mike Minor went six innings and allowed 11 hits and six earned runs. He didn’t pitch well at all, but the team bailed him out with some solid offense and he finally qualified for the win.
That’s Mike’s first win since May 19th. No, I’m not making that up. It’s literally been almost two months since Mike had a win. People wonder why I question him, but I think the runs this season are starting to speak for themselves. He probably deserved a win in some other games where he pitched better, but sometimes the Baseball Gods take pity on a pitcher after he hits his own homer.
The hero of the game is obviously Chris Johnson. C.J. hit two homers with four RBIs in the game. Justin Upton comes in a close second with his two-hit, four-RBI night as well. Simmons actually had three hits of his own in this game and scored two runs as well.
Basically everything was working for the Braves hitters, and that’s what we like to see. The Braves will play the rubber match on Sunday afternoon with Travis Wood going against Julio Teheran. Don’t miss it!