The Sunday matinee of this three game series is also the last game of the 2007 division rivalry between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals which stands at (10-7) in Atlanta's favor as things get underway today.
Ryan Church gets an increasingly rare start in center, but it is Sunday. Shawn Hill vs Tim Hudson on the mound, but my brother Scout is more interested in the Major League debut of another Jones' Boy, today's left fielder Brandon Jones, who was called up from Double-AA Mississippi where he hit .293 in 93 games on 107 hits in 365 at bats with 21 doubles, 6 triples, 15 HR's and 74 RBI's.
Shawn Hill gives up a two-out single to Chipper Jones and a walk to Mark Teixeira on four straight balls before he gets a ground out to third from Brian McCann to end the top of the first. Felipe Lopez reaches on an infield hit that Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson bobbles. Ryan Zimmerman singles by Chipper at third, but Braves righty Tim Hudson gets Austin Kearns looking, and Church swinging to end the scoreless frame.
Ryan Zimmerman makes the first two put-outs of the second, avoiding the barrel of Andruw Jones' shattered bat and barehanding the resultant grounder for the second. Brandon Jones goes down looking at three straight in his first AB for the third out of the inning.
Wily Mo Pena singles to start the Nationals second. Robert Fick hits a tailor-made DP ball. Jesus Flores grounds to third to end the second. Tim Hudson beats out an infield grounder to start the top of the third...
..."Hudson's now got a higher batting average than Zimmerman, and like four other Nationals starters" Scout taunts. "He doesn't have enough at bats for that to be legit," I counter. "It's still higher."...
...After Kelly Johnson flies out, Edgar Renteria walks, followed by Chipper Jones who loads the bases with his free pass. One out for Mark Teixeira who blows a hit by Fick at first, one run scores, Austin Kearns comes up firing in right, but the throw is late and Renteria scores. 2-0 Braves. Brian McCann gets the intentionals. Ryan Zimmerman makes an amazing rolling stab to rob Jeff Francouer as he throws home to cut down Chipper. AJones grounds out to end the top of the third.
Hudson walks Hill to start the Nationals third. D'Angelo Jimenez flies out to deep center, but Andruw Jones has it, and Hill has to hustle back apparently having thought it was a hit. Tim Hudson leaps off the mound to rob Felipe Lopez of a single up the middle. Ryan Zimmerman lines one to center, but Andruw Jones handles it, "He catches everything," Scout gushes.
Brandon Jones is 0 for 2.
"If Hudson gets a hit here he passes Zimmerman," Scout says, noting the pitcher's current .261 batting average as Hudson's up with two down in the fourth. "Make that like .259, jerk!!" I say as Hudson K's. Kelly Johnson makes up for his error with a two-out line drive solo home run to center to make it 3-0 Braves.
Big Head Teddy Roosevelt loses another President's Race. Tim Hudson gets Wily Mo Pena flinching at a slider to end the fourth. Chipper Jones lines a bullet through the right side of the infield for a leadoff single in the fifth. Teixeira grounds into a force at second. McCann flies out to third. Frenchy pops out to short. 3-0 after four and a half.
Robert Fick singles to start the Nationals fifth, but Jesus Flores makes it easy for Renteria, grounding to second, so the Braves shortstop need only step on the bag and fire to first to get another tailor-made DP. Ryan Langerhans hits for Hill, and strikes out looking, "Hill could have done that Langer," Scout chides the former Brave.
"Hollywood" Mike Bacsik gives up a two-out single to Hudson in the sixth, but gets a fly ball from Kelly Johnson to end the Braves half. D'Angelo "Red Hot" Jimenez doubles into the corner in right to start the bottom of the inning. Felipe Lopez grounds out to second. Jimenez to third. Zimmerman flies to short right, Jimenez stays. Austin Kearns grounds out to short. 3-0 Braves after six.
Mark Teixeira doubles to left with two down in the seventh. Bacsik gets McCann to end the top of the seventh. Stand up and stretch... Ryan Church singles on a line drive to right to start the home half. Wily Mo Pena flies out to right, Fick does the same, and Hudson gets a ground out to Flores for his seventh scoreless.
Chris Schroder's on in the eigth. Francouer goes down swinging. A.Jones swings over a slider, or a change, "Go with offspeed pitch," Scout offers, "That will cover it either way." Brandon Jones goes 0 for 4 grounding out to third.
Ronnie Bellliard strikes out swinging in a pinch hit appearance to start the eigth. "Red Hot" Jimenez singles to right. Felipe Lopez stares at strike three. Ryan Zimmerman pops out foul of first to end the eigth.
Luis Ayala gives up a single to Kelly Johnson in the ninth. Renteria flies out to left. Chipper Jones gets robbed by a diving D'Angelo Jimenez on a line drive. "That might cost him the batting title," Scout says. Chipper ends the weekend at .335...
Hudson's three outs away from the complete game shutout. AK, Church and Pena stand in his way. Austin Kearns is safe at first when Kelly Johson sails the throw on a routine grounder. Church flies out to left where Brandon Jones has it. Pena beats out the back end of a DP. Fick pops out on the first pitch.
The Braves take the season series 11-7. Next year Braves...
Nationals now 66-83.