Braves Digest: 4/22

<U><B>Reds 5, Braves 3</B></U>: Ken Griffey Jr. smacked a two-run double to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 rain-shortened victory over Atlanta at Great American Ball Park. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Minor League Quicks</B></U>: Dave Nilsson makes impressive Richmond debut; Ryan Langerhans extends hitting streak to 5 games; Armando Almanza continues to struggle on rehab; Andy Marte hits on of the longest home runs at Greenville Municipal.

ATLANTA

The Cincinnati Reds beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 Thursday afternoon in a rain-shortened game.

Cincinnati scored five runs in the second inning off Braves starter Jaret Wright. Atlanta would bounce back for three runs, one on a double by Adam LaRoche and two more on a double by Johnny Estrada.

But the rains fell in the bottom of the 5th inning with the Reds at bat. The umpires waited two hours before finally calling the game.

The Braves start a three game weekend series against the Marlins on Friday. Here are the Braves starters for the series:

FRIDAY: (7:35) Russ Ortiz vs. Josh Beckett
SATURDAY: (6:05) Mike Hampton vs. Brad Penny
SUNDAY: (8:05) John Thomson vs. Dontrelle Willis

RICHMOND

Braves To Stay In Richmond For Three More Years

PREGAME NOTES

Former American League All Star Dave Nilsson made his debut for Richmond Wednesday night and went 0-3 with a walk. Nilsson has been at extended spring training in Orlando getting his swing back after being out of the majors for the last four years.

The Braves placed right-handed reliever Ryan Glynn on the disabled list Wednesday to make room for Nilsson. Glynn has a strained right groin.

Mike Hessman has hit safely in all five games he's played in since being demoted from Atlanta. He's also hit home runs in the last three games. Hess is hitting .421 with 3 HR and 5 RBI.

Nick Green has raised his average to .333 with a five game hitting streak (8 for his last 17).

Ryan Langerhans has a four game hitting streak (6 for last 14)

Wilson Betemit is still struggling. He's hitting .094 on the season.

The Richmond bullpen has been strong mainly due to the work of right-handers Matt Whiteside and Tim Drew. Neither pitcher has given up an earned run this season. Whiteside has two wins and three saves for the Richmond team.

THURSDAY'S GAME

The Richmond Braves won their second game in a row over the Charlotte Knights winning 5-3 Thursday night at the Diamond.

Mike Hessman went 2-4 and hit his fourth home in his fourth consecutive game. Hessman is now hitting .435 on the season. Hessman has hit safely in all six games he's played with Richmond.

Ryan Langerhans extended his hitting streak to five games with a 2 for 3 day. "Langy" is now 8 for his last 17.

Wilson Betemit got his average above .100 with a single and a RBI. Betemit is now hitting .111. Jorge Valendia added a solo home run in the game, his first of the season.

Dave Nilsson got his first hit of the season, a RBI single.

Sam McConnell pitched well for Richmond in getting his first win of the season, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits. McConnell walked two and struck out one. His ERA is now 3.60.

Matt Whiteside picked up his fourth save of the season, despite giving up his first earned run of the year in the ninth inning.

GREENVILLE

PREGAME NOTES

Greenville outfielder Adam Stern has been the most pleasant surprise so far this season. Stern has hit safely in 10 of the 11 games he's played in this year. He's currently got a three game hitting streak (3 for his last 11) and his average is now at .333.

Andy Marte has a four game hitting streak (5 for his last 15 with two walks) and has hit safely in five of the six games he's played in since returning last week from an ankle injury.

Tony Pena, Jr. had an eight game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday. He's 14 for his last 31 in his last nine games.

The G-Braves starting pitchers are doing a bit better. They have allowed only three earned runs in the last three games over the past sixteen innings.

Armando Almanza continues to struggle. He allowed one run in 0.2 innings on Wednesday. His ERA is now 8.10.

THURSDAY'S GAME

The Jacksonville Suns defeated the Greenville Braves 8-7 in a 15-inning marathon Thursday night.

The Braves were down at one point in the game 6-1 but bounced back to tie the game in the 7th inning. The game would stay tied until the top of the 15th inning when Sergio Garcia singled home a run off Greenville reliever Ralph Roberts.

In the bottom of the 15th, Greenville loaded the bases. But Manager Brian Snitker was out of position players, so Ralph Roberts had to hit for himself. On a 3-2 count, Roberts lined a ball 390 feet to deep center field but it was caught by the Suns centerfielder to end the game.

Earlier in the game, James Jurries hit two home runs. He now has sixth on the season. Jurries later tweaked a muscle in his back on an at bat and had to leave the game.

Right after Jurries' second home run, the Jacksonville pitcher threw in tight to Greenville third baseman Andy Marte. The Braves best prospect stared out at the pitcher, and then on the next pitch Marte hit one of the longest home runs at Greenville Municipal Stadium.

Zach Miner started for Greenville and struggled again. The best performance of the night was Matt Coenen, who pitched five scoreless innings in relief.

Greenville takes off for a four game road trip to Birmingham after today's game. Here are Greenville's starters this weekend: (Times are Eastern)

FRIDAY at 8:00pm: Macay McBride (0-1)
SATURDAY at 8:00pm: Issy Pineda (1-1)
SUNDAY at 3:00pm: Dan Meyer (0-0)
MONDAY at 12:00pm: Steve Smyth (0-1)

MYRTLE BEACH

The Pelicans are off Thursday. They start a three game series at Kinston on Friday night. Myrtle Beach is 7-6 on the season and in third place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League, 3.5 games behind Kinston.

Scott Thorman will take an eight game hitting streak into the weekend against Kinston. He's 11 for his last 22 with 5 walks.

Gregor Blanco has a three game hitting streak (5 for his last 14).

Luis Hernandez has raised his average 118 points by going 6 for his last 16.

Matt McClendon continues to pitch well out of the Pelicans bullpen. He had 1.1 more scoreless innings Wednesday and still has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances.

ROME

PREGAME NOTES

Cole Barthel has had a good series against Lakewood going 3 for 7 with 4 runs scored.

Dean White has had a good series against Lakewood going 4 for 6 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.

Steve Doetsch is 9 for his last 24 (.375) with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in his last six games.

Matt Esquivel is 14 for his last 30 (.467) with 2 home runs, 6 runs scored, and 6 RBI in his last seven games.

Josh Burrus is 5 for his last 11 (.455) with 1 home run and 5 RBI in his last 3 games and 10 for his last 24 (.417) over his last six games.

THURSDAY'S GAME

Lakewood scored four runs off Rome starter Jo Jo Reyes in the fifth inning and held on for a 7-2 victory Thursday night at State Mutual Stadium.

The Blueclaws would add a single run in the sixth and two runs in the ninth.

Reyes allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings with two walks and three strikeouts. His ERA is now 6.23.

Martin Prado returned to the lineup for the Braves after missing seven games with a hand injury. Prado went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

The Braves (8-5) were limited to four hits on the night.

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