Apr 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang (34) pitches in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Just one day (and a few hours) after losing a heart-breaking 1-0 pitcher’s duel to the Miami Marlins, the Atlanta Braves were at it again on Wednesday afternoon and the early innings provided a familiar feeling. However, the offense did just enough to grab a victory in a 3-1 decision.
The story of the day (again!) was the fantastic work of Aaron Harang. The wily veteran continued his amazing string of good work by navigating the first five innings while allowing no runs and just two hits, and even with a hiccup in the 6th inning on an RBI double from Giancarlo Stanton, Harang finished with a fantastic line of 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk and 11 strikeouts that would have been the envy of virtually any pitcher. Hilariously, this outing saw Harang’s ERA rise to 0.85 for the season, but he was outstanding from the opening pitch.
Unfortunately, the offense wasn’t quite up to the task of carrying its weight in the early going, as Atlanta’s bats were hilariously silent through the first 7 innings. The only run that the Braves could push across came after Chris Johnson reached on an error, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, and was driven home on an RBI single from Ryan Doumit, but aside from that, the home team managed just 5 hits (and 2 walks) in the first 7 innings, and the natives were getting a bit restless.
Still, the “good guys” were able to generate offense when it counted in the 8th inning. Chris Johnson (there’s that man again) drew a 1-out walk, Dan Uggla reached on an infield single, and Evan Gattis strolled to the plate in a pinch-hit role, replacing Jordan Schafer. On cue, El Oso Blanco roped a 2-RBI double to left field, and that was all the offense that Atlanta needed to secure the 3-1 win.
Craig Kimbrel, fresh off some vocalized doubts concerning his last two outings, slammed the door shut on Miami in the bottom half of the 9th. The fire-balling closer mowed down the Marlins order, needing only 12 pitches to grab 2 strikeouts and a flyout, and all was right with the world in the final inning.
The win capped yet another series victory for Atlanta (their 6th in 7 tries), and now, they will have a longer rest than normal, as they experience a hometown off-day on Thursday in preparation for the arrival of the Cincinnati Reds. Stay tuned for coverage of that game on Friday (7:35 pm ET), but until then, let’s enjoy this win.