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Braves short hops
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10/07/2004 11:49 PM ET
Braves short hops
Atlanta seals Game 2 win despite RISP woes
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ATLANTA -- Stranding runners has become a habit the Braves would like to break when their Division Series shifts to Minute Maid Park in Houston on Saturday.

In the first two games at Turner Field, the Braves left total of 22 batters on base -- 12 on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday.

The Astros' starters, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt, effectively silenced the Braves' offense. Combined, Clemens and Oswalt have pitched 13 1/3 innings, giving up 14 hits, seven walks, but just four runs (three earned).

The 12 runners left on base on Wednesday matched the most by any team in an NLDS. Interestingly, the Braves had done it all four times. It's happened three times in American League Division Series action, the last by the A's on Oct. 1, 2002.

The Braves previously achieved the dubious feat Oct. 4, 1995; Oct. 7, 2002; and Oct. 4, 2003.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 2 of the NLDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 4.95 Bullpen doesn't allow a hit in four scoreless innings
BA .276 Hits aren't the problem, runs are
BA w/ RISP 3-for-20 (.150) Braves hoping Rafael Furcal changed their luck
Runs 7 Middle of order still not clicking
Fldg % 1.000 Turned big 5-4-3 double play in the fifth

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Rafael Furcal .500 BA, 4-for-8, 1 HR, 3 RBI Thus far, delivering in the clutch
Adam LaRoche .429, 3-for-7, 1 2B, 1 RBI Key double in three-hit Game 2

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
J.D. Drew .125, 1-for-8, 4 Ks Has even been caught stealing

Behind the numbers
Atlanta has three steals in four chances over two games. Charles Thomas helped set the stage for Furcal's homer with a single and then a stolen base with two outs, putting pressure on Astros reliever Dan Miceli. The aggressiveness paid off.

Frozen moment
A turning point came in the fifth, when Mike Hampton induced a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Craig Biggio. Already up by two runs, Hampton issued a leadoff single to Raul Chavez and walked Oswalt on four pitches. The count was 2-1 to Biggio when he grounded into the double play. The inning ended when Carlos Beltran struck out.

Slick move
John Smoltz was lights out over three innings, his longest stint of the year. Smoltz struck out three and walked two, tossing a season-high 45 pitches. Smoltz's final pitch was a 97 mph fastball for a called strike three on Jason Lane. Smoltz worked two innings five times this season, the last coming on Sept. 10. His regular-season high for pitches was 32, against the Phillies on July 11.

Chipper in the Division Series
Year Opponent AVG G AB H HR
1995 Colorado .389 4 18 7 2
1996 Los Angeles .222 3 9 2 1
1997 Houston .500 3 8 4 1
1998 Chicago Cubs .200 3 10 2 0
1999 Houston .231 4 13 3 0
2000 St. Louis .333 3 12 4 0
2001 Houston .444 3 9 4 2
2002 San Francisco .294 5 17 5 0
2003 Chicago Cubs .167 5 18 3 2
2004 Houston .000 2 7 0 0

Chipper first rounder
Chipper Jones entered these playoffs against the Astros with a .298 career average in Division Series games. This is the 10th Division Series for Jones.

Braves tidbits
Prior to Thursday, the Braves were 13-55 in regular-season games when they trailed after seven innings. ... Hampton gave up two home runs for the second time in his postseason career. The last was on Oct. 5, 2003, to the Cubs. ... Antonio Alfonseca posted his first career playoff win. ... The speedy Furcal stole his first base ever in the postseason.

Last word
"This is not your prototypical [Braves] team of the '90s that would awe you with certain aspects of the game. So when you're with guys 240 days, you realize what it takes to win a baseball game, despite what everybody else's views of what your team is." -- Smoltz

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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