Baseball is back and that awful dead period of sports finally came to an end on Friday. The Braves took on the Wild Card leading Arizona Diamondbacks in front of an electric crowd at SunTrust Park.
R.A. Dickey took the mound looking to continue his string of terrific pitching performances. He had not allowed more than an earned run in an outing since he allowed eight versus the Washington Nationals all the way back on June 13th.
The Braves would start the scoring on a Matt Kemp single with two outs in the first inning. That would be the only scoring for quite a while, as both R.A Dickey and Taijuan Walker were dealing. The D-Backs would tie the game up in the top half of the sixth, but that would only be temporary. M-V-Free stepped up to the plate in the bottom half and launched a home-run over the right center field wall.
Though, late leads have been tough for the Braves to hold of late, and that would prove to be true once again Friday night. Sam Freeman entered the game for Dickey after six strong innings. With two outs and nobody on, the Diamondbacks own MVP candidate would step to the plate. And like Freddie, he did not disappoint, tying the game up with a home-run of his own.
Arizona would take the lead in the top of the eighth on a wild pitch by Jose Ramirez. The Braves were on their way to yet another disappointing loss. However, they had one more chance with top of the lineup up in the bottom of eighth. A Brandon Phillips double put runners on second and third with Freddie Freeman coming up. Of course, Freeman came through with shift beating single to the left side. Both runners scored to give Atlanta a 4-3 lead.
Jim Johnson was able to shut the door with a clean ninth inning, inching the Braves just a bit closer in the Wild Card race.
Mike Foltynewicz (7-5) will face Patrick Corbin (6-9) in the second game of the series tomorrow night.
Atlanta wrapped up summer league with a 92-86 win over the Rockets summer league team. It was their consolation game after being bounced in the opening round of the summer league tournament.
Most of the Hawks stars of summer league (Taurean Prince, DeAndre Bembry and Tyler Dorsey) did not participate. So if eyes were not already all on John Collins, they certainly were now. Collins, however, only played 15 minutes himself, scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. The silver lining in that being that Collins has been so impressive in summer league there was really no point in him being out there.
The sad part is the ending of summer league marks the beginning of dead time in the NBA. Yes the NBA actually has an offseason, even if it does not seem like it. The NBA draft, free agency and now summer league will all soon be past us, and the countdown to the regular season begins.