The Atlanta Braves know what to do when they are trailing. "You wanna know what we do when we get behind?" says Bob Gibson, the team's pitching coach. "We catch up."
Today, Bruce Benedict doubled home the tying run in the ninth inning, then walked with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run in the 10th as the unbeaten Braves won their eighth straight game, a 5-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds to complete a three-game sweep. It was their second straight comeback win.
The Braves are two victories short of the post-1900 National League record for the best start. The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and the 1962 Pittsburgh Pirates each started with 10 wins. The Oakland A's won their first 11 games last year to set the American League record.
Cincinnati's start is less impressive; this was the Reds' fifth straight loss. "Beating anybody would be tough the way we're playing," said Manager John McNamara.
Today's game went into extra innings when Benedict doubled down the third base line off starter Frank Pastore to score Rufino Linares from first base in the ninth inning, tying the score at 2-2.
"We proved right there that we could battle back," said Benedict. "We flat out took it from them."
Relief pitcher Jim Kern (0-2) walked Glenn Hubbard to start the 10th inning, and after Dale Murphy struck out, Bob Horner singled and Ken Smith walked to fill the bases. Benedict walked on a 3-1 pitch to force in Hubbard with the go-ahead run and Ramirez lined a two-run single to center.
"This is bordering on the absurd, that's what it is," said Kern.
Rick Camp, the fourth Atlanta pitcher, pitched a shutout for two innings to gain the decision.
"We should tiptoe out of town now and just go on to Houston," said Braves Manager Joe Torre. "It's tough to win two out of three in Cincinnati, much less sweep the series."