Looking back on an eventful balk off
Keeping the practice they now perform after walk-off victories, the Braves celebrated last night’s balk-off victory by dousing Diory Hernandez with cups of water as he crossed the plate. Sorry, but I have to ask how funny would it have been if they had surrounded Mets’ reliever D.J. Carrasco and started dancing around him in celebratory fashion?
It might seem ridiculous, but it certainly would have been fitting on a night filled with oddities.
Carrasco’s game-ending 10th-inning balk gave the Braves their first balk-off victory since they claimed a 10-inning win over the Rockies on Sept. 9, 2008. Kelly Johnson was awarded the plate that evening when Taylor Buchholz was charged with a balk. Buchholz made 23 appearances with the Mets this year before being placed on the disabled list near the end of May.
Johnson began that 10th-inning rally three years ago with a two-out pinch-hit single. Last night’s rally began courtesy of a two-out double from Diory Hernandez, who has batted .300 (6-for-2) after coming off the bench this year. He entered last night’s game in the eighth as a pinch hitter and remained to play third base in place of Chipper Jones, who enjoyed a five-RBI night before straining his right adductor muscle (just consider it a groin strain).
We’ll get back to that link to Chipper. But first let’s remember Hernandez was in position to score on the balk because Jordan Schafer capped his first career five-hit game with an infield single.
“Five-hit games are hard to come by,” Schafer said while guessing he hadn’t had one since high school.
This marked the 51st time an Atlanta Braves player has recorded five hits in a game. Schafer stands as the 39th player in Atlanta history to record five hits in a game.
Schafer became the first Braves’ player to record five hits since Mark Kotsay did while hitting for the cycle on Aug. 14, 2008, which is also remembered as the last day Tom Glavine ever pitched in the Majors.
When Nate McLouth is activated from the disabled list this weekend, he’ll play left and Schafer will stay in center.
Trivia Time: Name the nine players who have had multiple five-hit games as an Atlanta Brave?
Bonus: There were six individuals either in uniform or handling broadcasting duties at Turner Field last night who had previously enjoyed five-hit games with Atlanta. Can you name them?
Back to last night’s festivities which were initially highlighted by Chipper Jones’ five-RBI performance. This marked the 17th time he has recorded a career-high five RBIs in a game and fourth time against the Mets.
When I posted this on Twitter last night, a Mets fan replied to tell me that it was actually the 96th time Jones had done this against the Mets. I can understand his frustration.
Jones also took time last night to hit his 47th career homer against the Mets. The only players to ever hit more were Willie Stargell (60), Mike Schmidt (49) and Willie McCovey (48).
Jones’ exit last night simply gave Brooks Conrad another chance to prove why he truly is Mr. Clutch. His game-tying, two-run homer off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning simply added to his impressive list of late-inning contributions. Four of his 12 career homers have been hit in the ninth inning or later.
This was the fifth time in the past three seasons that Conrad has hit a pinch hit homer in the seventh inning or later to tie the game or give his team the lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other Major Leaguer has more than three such pinch-hit homers during this span.
Odds and ends: With the Rangers in town this weekend, I talked to some of the Braves’ players about Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison, who will be playing the Braves for the first time since they were shipped to the Rangers in exchange for Mark Teixeira in 2007.
Schafer was bubbling with excitement yesterday afternoon while talking about the chance to spend this weekend with Andrus. The Rangers’ All-Star shortstop is going to stay with him over the next couple nights. They were best friends coming up through the Braves’ system and have continued to talk on a daily basis.
An early Happy Father’s Day to all of you who have had the pleasure of experiencing fatherhood. My father just happens to be coming to town on business next week. So it will be a pleasure to see him on Father’s Day for the first time since my college years.
Anyhow check out some of the great things Chipper Jones had to say about his father’s baseball expertise. Chipper is not one to get too sentimental. But there’s no doubt that he shares a special bond with his parents.
Name the nine players who have had multiple five-hit games as an Atlanta Brave?
Felix Milan (4 times, including a franchise-high six-hit game)
Kenny Lofton (3)
Felipe Alou (2)
Barry Bonnell (2)
Andruw Jones (2)
Chipper Jones (2)
Fred McGriff (2)
Dale Murphy (2)
Gerald Perry (2)
There were six individuals either in uniform or handling broadcasting duties at Turner Field last night who had previously enjoyed five-hit games with Atlanta. Can you name them?
Mets outfielder Willie Harris (tied franchise-best record with 6 hits on July 21, 2007)
Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez (April 18, 1999 @ Rockies)
Braves first base coach Terry Pendleton (Sept. 14, 1996 @ Mets)
Braves broadcaster Mark Lemke (Aug. 18, 1990 @ Cubs)
Mets third base coach Ken Oberkfell (5/21/86 @ Cubs)
Chipper Jones (twice, most recent Aug. 11, 2002 @ Astros)