The Braves Report: Braves Snap Two Game Skid

<U><B>Braves 8, Devil Rays 2</B></U> <BR> Horacio Ramirez won his sixth straight decision and Chipper Jones went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer as the Atlanta Braves beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-2 Friday night. <BR> <BR> <U><B>Down on the farm:</B></U> <BR> Richmond, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Danville and Rome all come away with losses as Orlando downs Vero Beach in 10 innings led by a 2-hit effort by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

What does a struggling team need to get themselves turned around? A trip to see the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of course!

The Devil Rays were just what the doctor ordered for the Braves in the first game of this three game series. The Braves got out to a quick start, scoring 4 runs in the 2nd inning, mainly due to some lackluster defense on the part of Tampa Bay.

Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones started off the inning with back-to-back-singles, followed by a Robert Fick groundout moving the Jones boys over to 2nd and 3rd. Javy Lopez then walked on a wild pitch from Rays starter Jeremi Gonzalez, allowing Chipper to score.

The big mistake of the inning by the Devil Rays came on a grounder to 3B Damian Rolls. Rolls made a poor decision on a ball hit by Vinny Castilla, throwing the ball home to get out Andruw Jones, but the force wasn't on, and Andruw scampered back to third safely. This left the Braves with the bases loaded and still only one out. After a typical Darren Bragg out, Rafael Furcal hit a bases clearing double, misplayed by Aubrey Huff in right, to put the Braves up 4-0.

Tampa got one run in each of the 3rd and 4th innings to cut the deficit to 4-2. The Braves got both runs back in the 5th off of a Chipper Jones 2-run homer, putting Atlanta ahead 6-2.

The heart of the order continued to roll in the 8th inning, as both Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones hit solo homers. Including Chipper's 4-for-5 night as the DH, the 3, 4, and 5 hitters for the Braves combined to go 9-for-14, with 3 homers, 4 RBI, and 6 Runs.

Horacio Ramirez had a very solid performance, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits in 6.2 innings. He also fanned a career high 8 and walked only 1. The win improves his record to 7-2 on the season, and is his sixth straight victory.

Kevin Gryboski, Roberto Hernandez, and Darren Holmes held it together for the final 2.1 innings, allowing 2 hits and a walk to close the game out.

The Braves try for two in a row tomorrow night against the Devil Rays, as Shane Reynolds (5-2) takes on Victor Zambrano (4-4) at 6:15 ET. I think this game will go a long way in determining what role Reynolds will play the rest of the season for the Braves. The Braves should also not take Victor Zambrano too lightly, as he has been the Devil Rays best starter of late, going 2-0 with a 1.23 over his last 3 starts, 2 of which were against the Yankees.

Down on the farm

Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 1, Richmond Braves 6 -- C Johnny Estrada was 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, and 1B Adam LaRoche hit his 3rd AAA home run on a 2-for-3 day, as Richmond wins one at home over the Mud Hens, 6-1. The R-Braves got a solid start from Ryan Glynn, who allowed only 1 earned run on 2 hits in 7 innings pitched. Glynn also walked 3 and struck out 6 in the win, which improved his record to 6-5. Joe Dawley earned his 8th save of the season by tossing 2 scoreless innings.

Greenville Braves 2, Tennessee Smokies (STL) 5 -- Greeville was only able to manage 4 hits off of Tennessee pitching, as they fall, 5-2, to the Smokies. Bubba Nelson got the start, allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits, with 6 K's, in 5 innings of work. He was on the hook for the loss, falling to 6-7 on the season. 1B Jason Fitzgerald hit his 6th homer of the year, and 3B James Jurries drove in the other Braves run on a 1-for-4 day.

Potomac Cannons (CIN) 3, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1 -- The Pelicans bats were kept in check by the Cannons to the tune of 4 hits on the game, as they fall, 3-1, to Potomac. Matt Merricks drops to 0-2 for the Peilcans with the tough loss. Merricks allowed 2 runs - 0 earned - on 4 hits in 5 innings, with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. CF Gregor Blanco was credited with the only Pelicans RBI.

Charleston-SC RiverDogs (TB) 7, Rome Braves 2 -- Four errors were the Braves undoing as they lose at home to the RiverDogs, 7-2. Brian McCann was 3-for-4 with an RBI from the DH slot, and 2B Jon Schuerholz and SS Luis Hernandez added 2 hits each. Blaine Boyer took the loss, falling to 3-7. Boyer gave up 6 runs - only 2 earned - on 9 hits in 4.2 IP.

Kingsport Mets 0, Danville Braves 3 -- Chuck James (1-0) picked up his first victory, allowing only 3 hits and fanning 4 in 5 IP, as Danville blanks Kingston, 3-0. 1B Scott Schade was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a steal, and RF Dominique Partridge was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Glen Tucker picked up his 2nd save by tossing a perfect 9th.

Vero Beach Dodgers 1, Orlando Braves 2, 10 innings -- The Braves pitching staff had their stuff working against the Dodgers, as 5 pitchers combined to allow only 2 hits and strike out 17 in their extra innings victory, 2-1. Starter Eduardo Rosario allowed 1 hit and fanned 5 in his 3 innings of work, and Alexis Candelario (1-0) picked up his first win, holding the Dodgers hitless over the final 2 innings. C Jarrod Saltalamaccia and RF Carl Loadenthal had 2 hits each, and SS Raul Ortega hit his first homer of the year on a 1-for-4, 1 RBI day.

Atlanta Dugout Top Stories