Relief pitcher Scott Downs started the day Monday as a Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher with a 2-3 record. He finished it as the newest member of the Atlanta Braves, earning his first victory as a Brave after being called upon in the ninth inning.
Downs was traded to the Braves earlier Monday for Cory Rasmus, as the Braves tried to shore up their bullpen. So Downs left Texas where the Angels were getting ready to play the Rangers, hopped on the first flight to Atlanta and arrived at Turner Field about 10 minutes before first pitch.
While his new teammates were taking the field, Downs — a 37-year-old now playing for his fifth team in a 12-year career — was showering and putting on his new threads. He walked down to the bullpen in the middle of the game and met his fellow pitchers.
With the Braves locked in a close game with the Colorado Rockies, newbie Downs was brought in with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth of an 8-8 game. Talk about putting the new guy to work.
Downs faced Todd Helton and snagged a line drive off Helton's bat on the first pitch he threw — ending the Rockies threat and earning himself immediate kudos from his new team.
The Braves kept Downs in for the 10th inning and he held Colorado scoreless. When Andrelton Simmons hit a walk-off triple in the bottom of the 10th, Downs got the W. After the game, he told reporters:
''You have to chuckle, because you couldn't have written it any better ... Different city, different team, different everything. But that's life. That's baseball. It's not that hard of a transition."
It's not hard when you're making an immediate impact like Downs did. Going from a struggling Angels team to a first-place Braves team probably didn't hurt either.
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