Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Braves visibly frustrated as Kawakami founders

In Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Marlins, Kenshin Kawakami did nothing to quiet rumblings that Tim Hudson might immediately supplant him in the starting rotation when he returns from his rehab assignment. Kawakami was, as he has been so often this season, god-awful. In in 4 1/3 innings, he allowed all six of the Marlins' runs, giving up 7 hits (including three HR) and walking three.

The slugfest started in the third inning when Hanley Ramirez drove in Emilio Bonifacio on an RBI triple. Pitcher Josh Johnson joined the party when he hit a three-run bomb off of Kawakami to push the lead to 4 in the bottom of the fourth.

Casey Kotchman hit a solo shot in the top of the fifth to open scoring for the Braves, who were threatening later in the same inning with Ryan Church and Nate McLouth on the corners with one out, but Josh Johnson got Martin Prado to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Hanley Ramirez continued to feast on Braves pitching with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth. Dan Uggla followed with another homerun later in the inning. Garret Anderson answered right back with a two-run homer in the fifth that plated Brian McCann. But that was the last run the Braves would score on the evening.

Josh Johnson didn't have his best stuff tonight, striking out just one while allowing three runs on two homers in six innings, but the Braves couldn't overcome the disastrous performance by Kawakami and couldn't muster any offense once they got into the Marlins' bullpen.

Pinch-hitter and trade rumor subject Kelly Johnson hit a triple with two outs in the top of the ninth. But Johnson's heroics proved too little, too late as Leo Nunez slammed the door with a swinging strikeout by Nate McLouth.


The Braves' frustration with their performance over the past two games was palpable in the eigth inning, when both Bobby Cox and Brian McCann were ejected following a dispute with the home plate umpire over the location of the strike zone.

Screaming Indian favorite Kris Medlen worked a scoreless inning and a third of relief, striking out one and walking one.

The Rockies were idle tonight, thanks to a rainout, so the Braves fell back another half game, leaving them four games out of the wild card spot.

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