Not sure what happened to the old Brian Lawrence, but keep him and we’ll take the new one. Lawrence kept the Braves off the board for most of the afternoon as the Padres took the series with a 7-3 victory in what was Lawrence’s first career win over Atlanta. Two first inning homers for the Padres began the assault and they never looked back. They did, however, hit into a triple play in the eighth, one of the sole blemishes on the day.
Brian Lawrence had by far his best outing of the year on Thursday in Atlanta, going seven innings, his longest outing of the year, to pick up the win and move to 4-2. Lawrence allowed five hits, one walk and struck out eight, throwing 94 pitches on the day. Scoreless through six, Lawrence allowed a two run homer to Julio Franco in the seventh. For Franco it was the first pinch-hit homer in his 20 big-league seasons and first for the Braves this year.
Khalil Greene, getting a chance to bat leadoff for the first time, smacked a 1-0 offering from Mike Hampton out of the park to the opposite field for his first homer of the season. Jay Payton followed with a two out home run with a man on in the first to stake the Friars to a 3-0 lead. Payton added another RBI in the third on a ground out.
The Padres scored an unearned run in the sixth to put them up 5-0 and added two more in the seventh on a double by Mark Loretta, run scoring single by Giles and double by Nevin to drive in Giles from first.
In the eighth, with runners on first and second, Kerry Robinson was sent in to pinch hit for Lawrence. Robinson, acquired for his speed this offseason, hit a grounder to third. Atlanta third baseman Mike Hessman quickly corralled the grounder and stepped on the bag, threw to second to get the force and the relay to first got Robinson by a step for the triple play.
The Braves last triple play came Aug. 10, 2003, against St. Louis, when Rafael Furcal had an unassisted triple play.
Giles has now hit safely in nine straight games after going 3-for-5 on Thursday. He is 15-for-31 over the course of the streak. A few short weeks ago, Giles was hitting .111. He is now hitting .283 and has raised his on base percentage to .394, second on the team behind Loretta.
Loretta, with three hits on the afternoon, now has 13 multiple hit games on the season. Los Angeles’ Adrian Beltre and Cincinnati’s Sean Casey lead the league with 15 multiple hit games.
Major League Baseball and Columbia Pictures have agreed to remove the Spider Man 2 logo from the in-field bases that will be used during Spider Man 2 Weekend June 11-13.
"As stated when this partnership was announced, we think this is a terrific promotion for Major League Baseball and Columbia Pictures and a great opportunity to reach out to children and families," said Bob DuPuy, President and Chief Operating Officer, Major League Baseball. "The bases were an extremely small part of this program; however, we understand that a segment of our fans was uncomfortable with this particular component and we do not want to detract from the fan's experience in any way. We are pleased to be moving ahead with all other elements of this groundbreaking marketing partnership and will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to market the game and engage baseball fans around the globe."
"We don't want to do anything that takes away from a fan's enjoyment of the game," said Geoffrey Ammer, President of Worldwide Marketing for the Columbia TriStar Marketing Group. "While we initially asked for the bases to be included in the MLB promotional package, they are only one element of a much larger family event with Major League Baseball. Spider Man 2 weekend will be a very exciting, fun and unique promotion and we want to make it a great weekend for baseball fans everywhere."
As announced on May 5, 2004, the focus of the marketing partnership will be a weekend of Spider Man 2 events coordinated with Major League Baseball and the 15 MLB Clubs hosting home games June 11-13.
During Spider Man 2 Weekend, ballparks will feature in-park signage and each Club will feature special Spider Man 2 promotional giveaways. In addition, highlights from Spider Man 2 will run on stadium video boards to promote the motion picture's June 30 release.