Strong pitching has been the key to Atlanta’s success for the last 14 seasons. This year’s team is also flashing some stellar defense.
“I think our defense probably is a little overlooked, but pitching and defense are going to win you a lot of ballgames,” Braves rookie outfielder Ryan Langerhans said.
The Braves continue their quest for a 14th straight division title as they play the middle game of their weekend series with the Cincinnati Reds at Turner Field.
Langerhans made a diving catch in left-center to end Atlanta’s 7-4 win over Cincinnati on Friday.
The Braves lead the majors in fielding percentage, and the team’s rookie outfielders have played a big role. Langerhans has played all three outfield positions, committing only one error, and right fielder Jeff Francoeur is tied for second in the league with 10 assists despite playing in only 45 games.
Joining the rookies is center fielder Andruw Jones, who has won seven straight Gold Gloves.
“They pitch it and they catch it. If you can pitch and play defense, you can play for Bobby Cox. They give you 27 outs, and that’s it,” said Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey.
The Braves maintained a four-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL East.
The Reds have lost four in a row to fall 10 games below .500.
Griffey’s shot was the 535th of his career and his 2,300th hit. He moved past Jimmie Foxx for sole possession of 13th place on the all-time home run list.