The Atlanta Braves opened the second half of the season on a good note with a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night.
The Braves' second half started much like their first half ended: defeating a division rival and losing their starting shortstop to injury. Despite Jack Wilson dislocating his pinky finger and leaving the game, Martin Prado took over shortstop as the Braves held on to win the game.
"Jack goes down early on and Martin made great plays, on the chopper up the middle flipped to Uggs," catcher David Ross said of Prado. "He’s solid. That guy has been our MVP. The guy played left, they asked him to move to third, they moved him from second a couple years ago and now he was at short. I just hope he doesn’t try to take my job at catcher.”
Tim Hudson started strong but faltered in the fourth and fifth innings in a rough outing. He gave up four earned runs on eights hits and two walks in four-plus innings. Hudson left the game in the fifth inning after allowing a leadoff single and a walk. Cristhian Martinez entered the game and promptly walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. Fortunately, Martinez struck out the next two batters and induced a routine fly ball for the final out.
"It just wasn’t a very good night on my part," Hudson said. "I wasn’t very good. They did a really good job picking me up. The guys scored some runs early. We were lucky for me not to give up the lead there in the fifth inning. Cristhian came in and did a really good job of getting us out of that jam, we had some tack on runs late. I’m obviously disappointed in my performance there in that fourth and fifth inning, but it was a really good win for us as a team. The guys really picked me up. That’s a sign of what good teams are supposed to do.”
The Braves' offense erupted for seven runs on 11 walks and two home runs. David Ross was the hero on offense, belting a three-run homer and drawing three walks, one of which was a bases-load free pass. Chipper Jones also tacked on a solo homer that gave the Braves some breathing room. Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, and Freddie Freeman each had two walks and at least one hit to round out a very productive offensive night.
“Our whole team was disciplined and took advantage of their pitching mistakes," Ross said. "The big hits cost them tonight.”
Kris Medlen pitched two innings of scoreless relief, and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to record his 26th save.
The Braves will look to continue their winning ways when they send Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71 ERA) to the mound against R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.40 ERA) on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 PM EDT.
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