ATLANTA -- The kids at the bottom of the order came through for Atlanta.
In Thursday's batting order, rookies Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Langerhans and Brian McCann batted sixth, seventh and eighth. The three combined to go 4-for-11 with four RBIs, a homer, a double and two runs scored in the Braves' 7-1 victory over the Astros in Game 2 of the NL Division Series at Turner Field.
Providing a spark has been nothing new for the Braves' rookies, who again stepped up.
Francoeur noted afterward that veteran Chipper Jones pointed out the top five had a pretty good night, especially Andruw Jones, who had three singles, an RBI and three runs scored. Fifth batter Adam LaRoche added a two-run double and two walks.
As Chipper Jones was bragging on the veterans, Francoeur reminded, "The bottom of the order didn't do too bad either."
Behind the numbers
In the first two games, the Braves used seven rookies, establishing the most rookies ever used by one team in the postseason. The Braves are carrying eight rookies on their roster. Thus far, they've used Francoeur, Langerhans, Joey Devine, Kelly Johnson, Macay McBride, McCann and Pete Orr. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous high for rookies used by one team in the poseason was six, by the 2002 Angels.
A look at key statistics through Game 2 of the NLDS.
|ERA||5.50||Ended Game 2 with eight scoreless innings|
|BA||.312||Added on runs with 11-hit attack|
|BA w/ RISP||8-for-18||Team fed off McCann's three-run shot|
|Runs||12||Production came from top and bottom of order|
|Andruw Jones||.571, 1 HR, 4 Runs, 3 RBIs||Singled three times and scored three times in Game 2|
|Jeff Francoeur||.429 BA, 1 3B, 1 RBI||Providing bottom-of-the-order production|
|Marcus Giles||.250, 1 2B, 2 Runs||A ho-hum 2-for-8 over two games|
Chipper Jones has played solid defense in the series, making a spectacular play to rob Craig Biggio of an RBI single in the seventh inning. With Chris Burke, who doubled, on second, Biggio ripped a hard grounder to the hole at short. But Jones snared it with a sprawled-out dive. Collecting himself, he threw out a hustling Biggio at first to end the inning. The Braves were ahead, 5-1, at the time.
Sacrifice bunting in the second inning proved to be a slick move. Trailing 1-0, Andruw Jones opened the second with a single. Adam LaRoche followed with a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for the turning point in the game. After Francoeur drew a walk and Langerhans struck out, McCann belted a three-run homer on an 2-0 Roger Clemens fastball.
Ageless wonder Julio Franco has appeared in the postseason at age 47. By starting Game 1 of the series, Franco matches Jack Quinn of the old Philadelphia Athletics as the oldest players ever to play in the playoffs.
A look at the oldest player to appear in the playoffs:
Julio Franco, Braves, 47, 2005
Jack Quinn, Athletics, 47, 1930
Julio Franco, Braves, 46, 2004
Julio Franco, Braves, 45, 2003
Sam Rice, Senators, 43, 1933
Jim Kaat, Cardinals, 43, 1982
Dennis Eckersley, Cardinals, 1998, 43
"You know, he's one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Just to get a pitch, up out of the plate, and I connected, it was neat."
-- McCann, on his homer off Clemens
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.