Braves jump ahead of Dodgers on run-scoring single from Jose Constanza

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The Braves have relied on a cast of unlikely heroes to take the lead over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLDS this evening.

After Ronald Belisario took over for Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning, he gave up a one-out triple to Elliot Johnson down the right field line. Yasiel Puig went into a slide to field the ball in the corner, possibly in an attempt to make a throw to second base, but the ball skipped past him and Johnson was able to scamper to third base. Pinch-hitter Jose Constanza, yes that Jose Constanza, then followed with a go-ahead RBI single to center to give the Braves the lead. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then turned to J.P. Howell, who was able to wiggle out of a jam to keep the damage to the minimum, but the Braves lead it 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh.

For all the concern about Freddy Garcia starting tonight, he turned in a very respectable outing, allowing two runs over six innings while striking out six batters. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will turn to his bullpen to hold the lead and keep the Braves’ season afloat.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.