Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) throws to first for an out against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Thursday afternoon in Atlanta, the Braves scored their second straight 1-0 victory over the visiting Colorado Rockies. This was notable for a couple of reasons. One, the Braves are still fighting for one of the National League's Wild Card playoff slots. And two, it was the first time in the Rockies' history that they'd lost two 1-0 games in a row.
Wednesday, the Braves' lone run came via an error, when rookie shortstop Josh Rutledge's fourth-inning throw went awry, allowing Chipper Jones to sprint home. Between starter Mike Minor and closer Craig Kimbrel, that was all the Braves would need.
Thursday, their only run was again unearned, but this time far more bizarrely.
Juan Francisco led off the bottom of the second, and beat the infield shift with a perfect bunt down the third-base line. Next up was Dan Uggla, who's been struggling for quite a while. But this time, Uggla drove a liner into the right-field corner, where it bounded over the fence for an automatic double, pushing Francisco to third base.
With Brian McCann at the plate, Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin got ahead in the count 0-and-2, then pitched a ball. Frustrated, Chacin sort of swiped at the return throw from his catcher ... and the ball snuck right past him, and toward second base while Francisco scooted home. Chacin ultimately escaped the inning with no more damage, but the damage was done. Thanks to Tim Hudson and Craig Kimbrel, the Rockies never did get on the board.
(via MLB.com, here is video of Chacin's fateful error)
Which was a good thing for these hitting-starved Braves, who have scored only two runs in their last three games, and have just one hit in their last 26 at-bats with runners in scoring position ... and that one hit was a single that didn't drive home a runner.
But despite scoring only two runs in the last three games of their four-game series against the Rockies, the Braves took three of the four games in the series, and enter the weekend with a five-game lead in the Wild Card standings. A repeat of last year's September collapse is still possible, of course. But it sure does seem unlikely.