Loss to Marlins ends streaks for Braves and Sheets

After two years away from baseball, pitcher Ben Sheets’ first two weeks with the Braves had been rather remarkable. The magic ended in the first inning Wednesday night against Miami.

The Marlins scored three runs before Sheets recorded the second out in a 4-2 loss that snapped the Braves’ seven-game winning streak.

“It stinks when you’re riding a long winning streak and the first inning I gave them the momentum right out the gate,” Sheets said. “The momentum that we earned over seven games.”

After allowing just one run and 13 hits in 18 innings over his first three starts, Sheets (3-1) gave up four runs (three earned) and 11 hits in 6-2/3 innings against the Marlins, with one walk and eight strikeouts.

The Braves went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base in losing for just the sixth time in their past 23 games.

“The first inning was the tough one,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, describing a bloop hit and two groundball singles. “We gave up five hits in the first. A couple of balls, the one Carlos Lee hit — it was a grenade behind first base, we can’t really defend it anywhere. That was an RBI and a couple balls got through the infield, but other than that I thought [Sheets] did a nice job.”

Outfielder Reed Johnson had two hits in his Braves debut after coming from the Chicago Cubs in a Monday trade. Braves shortstop Paul Janish had two hits including an RBI double, and made a spectacular diving catch in left field that’s likely to show up on highlight reels for some time.

The pitching line did seem worse than the actual performance by Sheets. Five of the first six batters collected singles, including a bunt, Lee’s bloop to right field, and a Greg Dobbs hit that caromed off Sheets’ glove. The latter two hits drove in runs, as did Bryan Petersen’s sharp single to right field for a 3-0 lead.

“I’m not going to say they hit bloopers; they got hits,” said Sheets, who went deeper into the game than he had in his previous starts and threw 104 pitches, 10 more than his previous season high. “I felt good. I needed to find a way to nip that first inning in the bud. I think if I just fielded my position I may have had a shot. That ball’s a liner back to me; I think Dobbs hit it. I feel like that ball’s very catchable and I should have probably caught it. I just kind of froze up. I couldn’t really move.”

Sheets was out of baseball for nearly two years, uncertain if he’d ever pitch again after complicated elbow surgery in 2010. The Braves signed him to a minor league contract a month ago, and after two minor league starts he pitched 12 scoreless innings in his first two big-league game and gave up one run in six innings of his third start.

The Braves, who had trailed after only one inning in the first five games of the homestand, trailed all the way Wednesday in the third game of a four-game series.

“I don’t know what happened today, man,” said Braves left fielder Martin Prado, who went 0-for-5, grounded into two double plays(including a game-ender, and made a sixth-inning error that let in a run. “I don’t know what to say. I guess we had opportunities to score a couple of runs, but we didn’t take advantage of a couple of pitches that we probably could have hit hard somewhere. It didn’t happen.

“Ben Sheets threw the ball well. He kept us in the game. We just didn’t score. We didn’t score enough runs to come back. We had a chance to tie the game and we didn’t.”

Marlins pitcher Wade LeBlanc, in his first major league start of the season after 11 July relief appearances, limited the Braves to five hits and one run in 4-1/3 innings.

Janish had a two-out RBI double in the second inning and Dan Uggla had a two-out RBI double down the left-field line in the sixth, and each time a Braves baserunner held at third. Sheets grounded out to end the second inning with two in scoring position after the Janish double, and Janish flied out to end the sixth with two in scoring position after Uggla’s double.

Freddie Freeman lined out to right-center with the bases loaded to end the seventh, after Johnson’s one-out single and a pair of two-out walks by Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones raised the hopes of a small crowd of 18,133. Freeman had three hits.

“We weren’t very good with runners on base even though we hit the ball hard,” Gonzalez said. “I thought Freeman’s ball was going to split the gap. He was right there. I thought Sheets did a terrific job. Longest outing of the year. Pushed him out there in the seventh inning and he did a nice job.”

Sheets recorded 10 outs in a 10-batter span after Petersen’s first-inning hit. Lee was the only batter to reach in that stretch, and he was erased after his one-out single in the third when Dobbs grounded into a double play.

Sheets struck out the first two batters in the fourth inning before Scott Cousins’ infield hit that first baseman Freeman got his glove on but couldn’t field cleanly as he went to his right. LeBlanc followed with a double down the left-field line, the first extra-base hit of his career.  Prado misplayed it and Cousins scored on the error for a 4-1 lead.

The Braves had one last gasp in the ninth after Michael Bourn drew a pinch-hit walk to lead off.  Brian McCann came to bat next as a pinch-hitter, after hitting nine homers in his past 18 games.  McCann struck out looking, and Prado grounded into a game-ending double play.

“We didn’t execute some routine plays,” Prado said. “I missed that ball in the outfield and they scored a run. The main thing is, we didn’t take advantage of opportunities to score. When you don’t tie the game, you feel pressure at the end of the game, looking for a homer in that situation. It’s hard.

“We’re just going to come back tomorrow and come back at it, start a winning streak again.”

The Braves had posteed a 1.43 ERA and outscored opponents 40-11 during their seven-game winning streak, allowing two or fewer runs in each of the last six games of the streak.

75 comments Add your comment

Grandma Giffin

August 1st, 2012
10:18 pm

Nice game for Reed Johnson.

Braves fan always

August 1st, 2012
10:20 pm

Braves fan always

August 1st, 2012
10:21 pm

Brandon

August 1st, 2012
10:25 pm

it also ended the twitta streak

Ron Roberts

August 1st, 2012
10:29 pm

OH well; at least the Nats lost, too. No ground lost. Get ‘em tomorrow.

Brandon

August 1st, 2012
10:30 pm

tough loss, but can’t win ‘em all. Time to start another winning streak

hard game

August 1st, 2012
10:32 pm

this game was losing by Fredi Gonzalez ,,,Fredi is a stupid brainless ,, dont used the foking bench when he needs to do….

6TH INNING : 2 Men on and 1 out and Ross coming to at bat WHY HE DONT PINCH HIT WITH MCCAAN? BECAUSE FREDI IS STUPID
8TH INNING: ROSS REACHES 1ST BASE AND NO OUT ,,WHY DONT PINCH RUN WITH BOURN AND TRY TO STEAL THE BASE ???
9TH INNING : IF JOHNSON HAVE 2 HITS WHY PINCH HIT MCCAAN FOR HIM INSTEAD PINCH HIT FOR PRADO WHO FINALLY GIDP AGAIN ???

FOCK YOUR MOTHER FREDI

jim

August 1st, 2012
10:35 pm

Why does Fredi NEVER play hit and run with Prado. It probably only seems like every time the
Braves get the lead off man on in the game, Prado hits into a DP. A better strategy in the 9th would have been to let Johnson hit — maybe even bunt — and have McCann hit for Prado — have 4 LH hitters in a row. Johnson may also have been a good hit and run man in the 9th, but they had to put
Bourn in motion in the 9th to try and stay out of the DP.– McCann and Prado are both double play candidates.

hard game

August 1st, 2012
10:37 pm

thanks jim for suppourt my view point

English Speaking White Guy

August 1st, 2012
10:38 pm

Why is McCann sitting out so many games? It seems that he plays 3 and sits 1. Especially when he’s coming off of a pretty good July.

Brandon

August 1st, 2012
10:42 pm

i would’ve definitely let johnson hit and pinch hit mccann for prado. other than that, the braves had many chances that they just didn’t capitalize on.

Tampa Gator

August 1st, 2012
10:45 pm

English…

Because catchers cannot play every day….if McCann did…..he would not be hitting .240….he would be hitting .140….and he would be worthless at the end of the year….sort of like last year. And Ross is the best back up catcher in baseball and needs to play once in a while….and a left hander started the game tonight…..so Ross played…and will play again in about 3 or 4 days.

phil

August 1st, 2012
10:58 pm

FOCOBRAVES

August 1st, 2012
10:59 pm

Hard Game. The reason why you don’t do this is becuase you NEED a back up catcher. If McCann gets subbed in and gets hurt who plays Catcher?? we only have two then you get to Diaz/ Prado who are the emergency catchers. The 9th inning is different It’s do or die but not in the 6th when there is plenty of ball to play

Tracey

August 1st, 2012
11:05 pm

Why isn’t Turner Field more like all other MLB stadiums with night life surrounding it? If it was safe and more to do before and after the game..maybe they wouldn’t have the poor mid week turnout like tonight..and most every home mid-week games?

BravesfaninWis

August 1st, 2012
11:09 pm

Remember to what got it all started, Bonifacio should have been called out when he bunted the ball while out of the batters box and it bounced of home plate, instead he is safe, steals second, and ends up scoring. They score maybe 1 run in that inning instead of 3 if he is called out like he should have been. That would have made it a completely different game if the umpires would have finally of gotten something right for a change.

I am marking this one down, if the Braves lose out on the division or wildcard by 1 game like they did last season, this game is being brought up. So sick of those blind, useless, over paid, under performing officials dictating the outcome of every game and ruining chances for teams, and individual players. Not like its not hard enough as it is.

Reid in EAV

August 1st, 2012
11:10 pm

By all means, let’s all jump down the throat of Fredi Gonzalez for the first loss in eight games. Eyeroll.

Brandon

August 1st, 2012
11:11 pm

i agree tracey! i lived in san francisco and there was so much around at&t park to do…very pedestrian friendly city too ( it is a small park though) In atlanta, its a much different vibe. i’d love to see more packed crowds

The Grinch

August 1st, 2012
11:12 pm

Whoever told Durbin to throw to first 15 times (plus called a pitchout) instead of letting him try to get the batter out (the sole reason he was put in there) is a moron. I’m assuming it was Tosca. Figures Fredi brought him in.

Chief Knockadouble

August 1st, 2012
11:13 pm

Small crowd is right! It was more like 8,133. Do you really think they sold 18,133 tickets or is that a smoke screen?

J-MAN

August 1st, 2012
11:16 pm

How long has it been since we avoided a losing streak. It seems we win a bunch in a row then lose a bunch. Can we just win tomorrow to break the streak trend.

Bronke

August 2nd, 2012
12:13 am

Prado had an awful game. He is very prone to the double play ball. Love him as a player but he really hurt the Braves tonight. At least Freeman is raking it right now. Keep it going boys. Thought that Bourne and Prado should have both been off tonight but realize the bench is short without a reliable backup. Like Johson very much and think he will help down the stretch. Let’s win tomorrow!

Pale Rider

August 2nd, 2012
1:28 am

Smuggla must go if we want a chance at a wild-card

lee maye

August 2nd, 2012
1:51 am

USE THE HIT AND RUN FREDI, PARTICULARLY WITH PRADO

Early in the game, one on, no outs, don’t let Prado hit into DP. He used to be good at hitting to right field. He needs to go back to it.

lee maye

August 2nd, 2012
1:53 am

Fredi ain’t going to let them trade Uggla. Probably, no one would take him at that salary. Uggla will be here longer than Fredi. Marlins are still laughing at us for taking Uggla for Infante and Dunn. Laughing. And, Simpson and Chip are still saying someone will pay. Yes, they will and have. The Braves are paying.

Nick

August 2nd, 2012
4:42 am

Lowe DFA’d…

John Leonard

August 2nd, 2012
5:15 am

4th game that Sheets looked good.

mark

August 2nd, 2012
5:55 am

small crowds, 4 more yrs of oboma and they will be half what they are now! but i guess the govt. will own the braves so we go for free so maybe not. wonder how free agency will work in soicialism?

RunninWithTheDawgs

August 2nd, 2012
5:58 am

Sheets is a good pitcher, but I think he’s staying in the strike zone too much. It’s all about working the batter. Maddux would throw three straight balls that wern’t worth swinging at when he got an 0-2 count and if he walked a batter so what. Quit throwing all strikes Ben. Work the plate, keep ‘em off balance. There’s nothing wrong with walking a batter occasionally. Now let’s get on another winning streak. GO BRAVES !

OTP

August 2nd, 2012
6:49 am

Prado needs a rest.

Wrecker

August 2nd, 2012
7:13 am

Agreed, OTP. Use Johnson to spell Prado and Heyward the next couple of games.

James Cassara

August 2nd, 2012
7:22 am

Reading the comments on this forum (not just today) you would think the Braves were 15 games under .500 and in dead last. Lighten up, folks!

Keith

August 2nd, 2012
7:22 am

Why are you guys blaming Fredi for a game where the Braves were 2/10 with RISP.

Players still have to execute.

Keith

August 2nd, 2012
7:22 am

Phils fan

August 2nd, 2012
7:40 am

come on atl. phi did their part. if phi cant be the div. champ. i’d rather it be atl or the natitude.

Phils fan

August 2nd, 2012
7:43 am

Piv

August 2nd, 2012
7:56 am

The kryptonite to this Braves lineup: a pitcher making his starting debut or a spot start out of the bullpen.

spider

August 2nd, 2012
7:59 am

Bloggers, the baseball IQ here sucks.

ijudgenot

August 2nd, 2012
8:18 am

S#€¥ happens. Not really much to complain about this game other than the team did not hit which theydo on regular occasions when playing against a crafty lefthander. Johnson is a nice pickup but the void of a righthanded power hitter is still there. This waiting on Uggla to magically start hitting just because the calendar says August instead of July is like trusting your future to a palm reader. Last year’s hot streak was the worst thing that. Old happen to him and the Braves because he now believes the hype of him being a second half player. Maybe that’s why Miami traded him because he was at best a half a year player asking mega bucks to play good half a year. Sheets was high in the strike zone the first inning and the Miamilayers got to him for three runs. He was solid the rest of the way. Prado has been one of the three that has carried the Braves through their streak so I can cut him some slack for having an off night.

urban redneck

August 2nd, 2012
8:27 am

derek lowe could get us to the world series.

man, i’m funny.

harry taylor

August 2nd, 2012
8:32 am

Appears Beginners(been out for 2 years) luck, ran out.

Carl Farvman

August 2nd, 2012
8:37 am

“Why isn’t Turner Field more like all other MLB stadiums with night life surrounding it? If it was safe and more to do before and after the game..maybe they wouldn’t have the poor mid week turnout like tonight..and most every home mid-week games?”

True, the location is horrible. I’m a baseball fan but rarely have the urge to go down to that mess.

NCDOG

August 2nd, 2012
8:50 am

U R so right Mark!

Wes

August 2nd, 2012
8:53 am

Hey, Dan Uggla has officially passed Ike Davis for the lowest batting average in the league. Of course, Davis has 20 home runs, so he does contribute something.

Clyde

August 2nd, 2012
8:59 am

The Braves wanted the revenue from parking so they didn’t put a stadium where it was easy to access via train. After visiting the Cubs, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks, and seeing how convenient it is to have a train drop you off at the “front door” to the stadium, I find myself less willing to fight rush hour traffic on the connector to go to a game. That’s just me, but it looks as though I’m not alone.

Don

August 2nd, 2012
9:03 am

Why did the AJC print the information about Hanson being injured?
A Braves Pitcher being injured can no longer be classified as NEWS.

Rufus

August 2nd, 2012
9:05 am

Even in a defeat Sheets pitches well. A slightly sub-par game on offense and defense cost the Braves this win, nothing more. It speaks to just how bad the Marlins are that they couldn’t do more in a game that the Braves were not playing their best.

harry taylor

August 2nd, 2012
9:13 am

Sure, 11 hits in 6 innings is pitching well or great. Keep those rose colored glasses. You are going to need them.

NO O

August 2nd, 2012
9:22 am

The pitching held them to FOUR RUNS and the Braves weak offense couldn’t score 5 against a weak Fish team. Don’t just blame the pitcher.

Tommy Boggs

August 2nd, 2012
9:36 am

Pastor at 2nd base tonite, Uggs be needing some days off.

Peter R.

August 2nd, 2012
9:36 am

Yea the pitching really isn’t too blame here. Sheets choked pretty bad when he gave up the hit to the pitcher and then the miscue by Prado. The Braves had their chances in this game, but they choked. Why wasn’t McCann in the lineup for Christ’s sake? Oh well, just win tonight and sweep the ’stros, then I’ll forgive it. Otherwise, if we split this series it’ll rank as big of a choke as when they got swept by the Padres at home a couple years ago. Such is our Atlanta Braves.

Pippa's hiney

August 2nd, 2012
9:48 am

No need to panic. Braves are coming on.

P Rose

August 2nd, 2012
10:03 am

“The Braves wanted the revenue from parking so they didn’t put a stadium where it was easy to access via train. After visiting the Cubs, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks, and seeing how convenient it is to have a train drop you off at the “front door” to the stadium, I find myself less willing to fight rush hour traffic on the connector to go to a game. That’s just me, but it looks as though I’m not alone.”

Right, I’ve been to Fenway, Wrigley and Pac Bell, all in nice neighborhoods, easy and safe to walk to. If the Braves ball park was located in Virginia Highlands, Poncey Highlands, Grant Park, Candler Park or Buckhead, Braves games would be an event, THE thing to do on a summer night in Atlanta. But no, they had to be cheap. The Ted is just as if it would be if the Mets had stuck their new park in the middle of Harlem.

mike

August 2nd, 2012
10:59 am

managemer decisions in crunch time are not a strength of gonzalez. he doesn’t bunt, he doesn’t hit and run, his using McCann to night in place of Johnson was just one more indicator that he just isn’t very smart when it comes to managing a ball game. both he and uggly should go, sooooooooooon!!

parabrave

August 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

Will somebody please tell Ugg that we only need a hit when we have a man on 2nd, not a home run. Sick of seeing him trying to hit for the fence.

Dawg '88

August 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

AJC headline on front page of site:

“Braves, Sheets beat by….”

Uh hello….the correct grammar ajc is “beaten” not “beat”

JK

August 2nd, 2012
11:31 am

Start Johnson in LF and put Prado back at 2B where he belongs.

arizona brave

August 2nd, 2012
11:34 am

In a game where the Braves needed hits to tie or win the game,Uggla should have been hit for.He is a walking out.

arizona brave

August 2nd, 2012
11:36 am

Uggla needs to sit for a few games so we can catch up with the Nats,he is a walking out.

sheeesh

August 2nd, 2012
12:08 pm

Was anyone else unimpressed with Johnson’s defense in RF? That single by Lee in the 1st that scored the first run of the game should have been caught. Now I know why they moved Heyward to CF instead of putting Johnson there.

Let’s keep him on the bench as a PH. Hope they don’t need too many defensive innings from him.

sheeesh

August 2nd, 2012
12:11 pm

Not to mention Johnson looks like he has a noodle for an arm.

Good PH, weak defense.

BravesFanSince80's

August 2nd, 2012
12:25 pm

I know I’m beating a dead horse, and have been doing so ever since Frank Wren tendered the awful contranct to him, but PLEASE get rid of Dan Uggla! At this point, even a bag of baseballs would suffice!

FG stinks

August 2nd, 2012
12:27 pm

“manager decisions in crunch time are not a strength of gonzalez. he doesn’t bunt, he doesn’t hit and run, his using McCann to night in place of Johnson was just one more indicator that he just isn’t very smart when it comes to managing a ball game.” How many ways is there to say fg doesn’t have a clue about managing a big league team. He really appears lost and confused. Listening to Joe Simpson, if he’s half as smart as he thinks he is, why isn’t he the manager?

BravesFanSince80's

August 2nd, 2012
12:30 pm

completely in agreement, Fredi is a wash at this point, cut ties with him and move on!

FG stinks

August 2nd, 2012
12:35 pm

thanks BravesFanSince80’s. There are so many better choices for manager. And a lot of them are right in our own back yard, so to speak. What they want with this doof is beyond me. I don’t think he has much to do with our wins, but a lot of terrible choices that cause loses.

BravesFanSince80's

August 2nd, 2012
12:40 pm

I think the ream would benefit mightily from the removal of Fredi G. and Ugly Dan, those two love each other obviously so send them both packing elsewhere. Terry Pendleton could easily finish out as manager and might make a good replacement next year as well. Johnson and Diaz and Hinske can switch out in LF the rest of the way and Prado can finish out the year at 2B. Not gonna happen though:(

BravesFanSince80's

August 2nd, 2012
12:41 pm

FBGuy

August 2nd, 2012
1:06 pm

Fire FG? Nearly two-thirds of the way through the season, his team 2 1/2 games out, playing well, no reasonable managerial solution anywhere in sight, a team generally satisfied with its manager. Fire him? Maybe at the end of the season if the B’s collapse, but get serious…get out of fantasyland.

sheeesh

August 2nd, 2012
1:13 pm

I never understood why the Braves were so quick to hire Fredi without conducting a thorough search for a replacement. Publicly, it appears that they settled on Fredi pretty much as soon as he was fired by the Marlins. If so, I think they were derelict in their responsibility by just hiring someone because they already knew him and were comfortable with him.

Not a very sound way to conduct business.

LewisD

August 2nd, 2012
2:10 pm

For you guys talking about going to games where it’s easier to get to the stadium than Atlanta, my experience is just the same. I was visiting New York and my local contact asked me if I wanted to catch a Mets game. We were in the financial district at about 5:15 pm when he brought it up. We hopped on the subway and were in our seats at Citi Field before the first pitch. No planning, no traffic hassles, and no worrying about driving after having a few beers. The only downside was that it was a Mets game.

[...] Last night’s 4-2 loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Braves. But Ben Sheets still had his fourth quality start as a Brave. The offense couldn’t rally for him, after going 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranding nine runners. [...]

harry taylor

August 2nd, 2012
2:33 pm

Come on. Giving up 11 hits in 6 innings is a quality start. Boy you set your standard very low.

southern hope

August 2nd, 2012
3:40 pm

not to get into politics but as the Gov. made clear yesterday, the defeat of TSPLOST means no more talk of light rail….so even *thinking* about a MARTA rail to the stadium is pretty much out of the question.

Denny Lemaster

August 2nd, 2012
4:06 pm

Hey Braves – - – — D. Lowe has been canned by the Indians. Of course most of it is not their money, it’s the Braves. So, why not bring him back so he can have a 1-7, 6.75 ERA the rest of the way!!!!! His monster nothing for $60 million is now being equaled by Ugly’s $60-PLUS million money for nothing contract. The stupid GM has wasted $120-plus million dollars for two worthless, over the hill and never wazzz players. Ugly stunk at Miami except for some dingers and stinks more here. Millions wasted.

dylan

August 2nd, 2012
5:34 pm

Its ok, at the rate ughlas going now, it just means we’ll get to see gattis in the majors sooner! =D. Now imagine gattis and Stanton in the same lineup with Freddi and Jason =D. Its good to dream.

Add your comment