The Braves took another positive step toward clinching the N.L’s final postseason spot last night with a 3-2 win over the Marlins. The win, combined with the San Diego’s second straight home loss to the Cubs, extended Atlanta’s lead in the wild card race to a game and a half over the Padres. There are four games left in the regular season.
Eric Hinske was last night’s hero. His pinch hit three run homer in the seventh propelled the Braves to its second straight win. The homer gave the team a much needed shot of energy on what had been a pretty somber night to that point. Shortly before the game the team learned third baseman Martin Prado would miss the remainder of the season with a torn oblique muscle and a hip pointer. He suffered the injury in Monday night’s win.
With Prado on the shelf, Brooks Conrad becomes the team’s everyday third baseman. In the course of just a few months, Atlanta has gone from Chipper Jones to Martin Prado to Brooks Conrad. That’s a tough pill, especially in a playoff race. That is way Hinske’s homer and last night’s win were so important.
The Braves go for the sweep this afternoon at Turner Field. Derek Lowe, pitching on three days rest, will get the start on the mound. Game time is 4:35.
The Padres play host to the Cubs at 10:05 tonight.