Atlanta’s offense returns as Braves salvage series
Atlanta ran into a rough stretch with poor offense and an excellent pitching staff when the Florida Marlins swept them. The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t prove to be any easier until the final game of the series.
Pittsburgh’s starter Paul Maholm was stellar in game one. Maholm went seven strong innings without allowing a run and scattering four hits. Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens was also good but not quite good enough. Jurrjens lasted 6 and 2/3 innings but allowed one run that would seal his fate. Atlanta was just not able to produce anything again Maholm as well as Pittsburgh relievers John Grabow and Matt Capps. Pittsburgh’s offense was led by Nate McLouth who had two hits in four at bats while driving in two of Pittsburgh’s three runs. With great pitching the Pirates cruised to a 3-0 victory in game one.
Everything went Pittsburgh’s way in game two. Atlanta starter Jo-Jo Reyes was very good up until the 6th inning when he allowed four runs and was removed from the game. Pirates’ outfielder Craig Monroe had a great game with two three-run home runs to drive in six ruins on the day. That would prove to be more than enough as Atlanta was shut out for the second straight game. Omar Infante filled in nicely at shortstop for the Braves but his two hits didn’t make up for Pittsburgh’s surplus of offense. The Pirates went on to an easy 10-0 victory in game two.
After a rough first two games the Braves exploded for an offensive barrage of 11 runs. Chipper Jones returned to the lineup for Atlanta and immediately sparked the offense. Jones had one hit in three at bats as well as reaching on a walk and was hit by a pitch. Jordan Schafer also had a good game going 3-5 with three singles and a run scored. Atlanta starter Javier Vazquez was lights out, throwing six innings of shutout ball and striking out eight batters. Pirates’ starter Zack Duke did not fair well on his birthday giving up six runs on 12 hits in six innings of work. Atlanta finished the series on a high note with an easy 11-1 victory.
Friday the Braves begin a three game series with the Washington Nationals. Derek Lowe (1-0, 2.81) will duel with Jordan Zimmermann (0-0,-.--) in game one. Game two is set to see Kenshin Kawakami (1-1, 5.25) will face off with Shairon Martis (1-0, 4.82). The final game is set to see Jair Jurrjens (2-1, 2.04) take on John Lannan (0-2, 6.46). The final game is easily the most intriguing game with two solid pitchers going.
In other news Brian McCann is going to see an eye specialist Friday to see if he needs surgery again or if eye drops will fix his blurred vision. Yunel Escobar is set to return to the lineup after having a strained abdominal muscle. His loss was felt throughout the Pirates series with the lack of offense.
By Ben Burrows
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