Skip to content

Braves score four times in ninth to lower magic number to 1

Sep 20, 2013, 6:03 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann celebrates hitting a RBI single while playing the Chicago Cubs during the ninth inning of their MLB National League baseball game in Chicago Reuters

The Braves busted open a 5-5 game with four runs in the ninth to beat the Cubs 9-5 on Friday and clinch at least a tie in the NL East with the Nationals scheduled to play later tonight.

All four runs in the ninth came after Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked by Kevin Gregg to set up a double play. But that wasn’t the curious decision from Dale Sveum. The real mystery is why Blake Parker and Pedro Strop were both removed from the game after retiring two batters apiece. Parker got the final out of the seventh and first of the eighth, then was lifted after nine pitches. Strop came in and threw eight pitches to finish the eighth, then was taken out before the ninth even though his spot in the order never came up.

While Gregg has closed most of the year, Parker and Strop have been the Cubs’ best right-handed relievers. Strop’s quick hook might have been explained by the fact that he pitched yesterday, but if that’s an issue, why use him at all in a game that’s pretty meaningless for the Cubs? Parker didn’t pitch Thursday, and there’s no reason he couldn’t have gotten all four outs himself. It’s especially baffling given that Sveum said earlier this week that Strop was now the closer. So, not only was the new closer used in a tie game today, but since he’s now pitched two days in a row, he probably won’t be available for a save chance on Saturday.

OK, back to the Braves. Chris Johnson and Freeman both homered off Scott Baker in this one. Johnson collected three hits in all, raising his average to .3306. He’s barely behind Michael Cuddyer at .3311 for the NL lead. Jason Heyward went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in his return from a broken jaw. As scripted, he was removed from the game after five innings. He’ll sit tomorrow and start again Sunday. Dan Uggla went 0-for-3 with a couple of walks, but he nearly homered in a second straight game, barely pulling a ball foul off Gregg in the ninth.

The Braves will clinch the NL East if the Marlins beat the Nationals this evening. Otherwise, they can do it with another victory over the Cubs tomorrow.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Mike Trout makes a ridiculous slide to beat the tag at third base

    May 22, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Mike Trout

    Mike Trout is pretty good at this baseball thing.

  2. Marlins place Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos on the disabled list

    May 22, 2015, 11:40 PM EDT

    Henderson Alvarez Henderson Alvarez

    Bad news for the reeling Marlins: starters Mat Latos and Henderson Alvarez both will take at least a couple of weeks off due to injuries.

  3. Ichiro Suzuki passes Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list

    May 22, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Ichiro Suzuki Ichiro Suzuki

    Ichiro Suzuki may be close to the end of a brilliant career, but he’s not done moving up baseball’s all-time leaderboards.

  4. Video: Bryce Harper ties for MLB lead in homers, Nelson Cruz quickly unties (again)

    May 22, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Bryce Harper

    Nelson Cruz kept pace with Bryce Harper, taking back the MLB lead in home runs shortly after losing it.

  5. Billy Beane: “I’m not trading [Stephen] Vogt. Period.”

    May 22, 2015, 9:35 PM EDT

    Stephen Vogt Stephen Vogt

    Stephen Vogt has been baseball’s best-hitting catcher and GM Billy Beane plans to hold onto him.

  6. Video: Athletics closer Sean Doolittle gets some media training

    May 22, 2015, 8:40 PM EDT

    Sean Doolittle Sean Doolittle

    Athletes aren’t born with an ability to speak with the media. We got a look into a media coaching session between Athletics closer Sean Doolittle and girlfriend Eireann Dolan.

  7. Dodgers acquire Eric Surkamp from the White Sox

    May 22, 2015, 7:51 PM EDT

    Eric Surkamp Eric Surkamp

    The Dodgers added some pitching depth on Friday, acquiring pitcher Eric Surkamp from the White Sox.

  8. White Sox push back Carlos Rodon’s next start

    May 22, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Carlos Rodon Carlos Rodon

    The White Sox are managing Carlos Rodon’s workload so they pushed the lefty’s start back from Monday.

  9. Coco Crisp likely headed to the disabled list, but will avoid surgery

    May 22, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Coco Crisp Coco Crisp

    Coco Crisp will go back on the disabled list, but has chosen against having career-ending surgery.

  10. Mets to utilize a six-man rotation after Dillon Gee returns Saturday

    May 22, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Dillon Gee Dillon Gee

    The Mets appear to be heading towards using a six-man rotation after Dillon Gee returns on Saturday.

  11. A Rays affiliate planned, and then cancelled, “A-Rod Juice Box” night

    May 22, 2015, 4:47 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Getty Images

    The Yankees firmly believe that the only people allowed to disparage Alex Rodriguez are the Yankees.

  12. Red Sox call up Rusney Castillo, demote Jackie Bradley Jr.

    May 22, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Rusney Castillo AP AP

    Castillo is starting tonight in right field.

  13. Casey Janssen is healthy, ready to make his Nationals debut

    May 22, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT

    Casey Janssen Getty Images

    Janssen was signed for $5 million to replace Tyler Clippard as the Nationals’ primary setup man.

  14. Barry Bonds would like to see you smile

    May 22, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Bonds

    When I see you smile, Barry, I can face the world. You know I can do anything. When I see you smile, I see a ray of light.

  15. Will Smith suspended for eight games for the foreign substance on his arm

    May 22, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    will smith substance arm

    But Major League Baseball’s silliness about these kinds of infractions, however, will continue on unabated.

  16. Quote of the Day: Freddie Freeman inadvertently illustrates the silliness of the foreign substance rules

    May 22, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Will Smith Getty Images

    Paraphrased: “Smith should be way less obvious about the fact that he’s trying to keep us safe!”

  17. Blue Jays shut down rookie Devon Travis with shoulder injury

    May 22, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    devon travis getty Getty Images

    Travis has been a huge bright spot for Toronto this season.

  18. Baseball needs beer girls. And a few other things.

    May 22, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Tokyo Dome

    At least that’s what Molly Knight reports from Japan, and I’m inclined to agree.

  19. A’s reliever Edward Mujica breaks thumb on line drive

    May 22, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Edward Mujica A's Getty Images

    Mujica actually managed to pick up the ball and make a throw to first base for the out.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Travis (3878)
  2. J. Hamilton (3370)
  3. R. Castillo (3190)
  4. J. Garcia (3188)
  5. L. McCullers (3120)
  1. H. Ryu (2965)
  2. C. Dickerson (2938)
  3. J. Reyes (2929)
  4. Y. Puig (2890)
  5. J. Werth (2855)