5 takeaways after Braves finish 7-3 road trip

Credit: Derrick Tuskan

Credit: Derrick Tuskan

SAN DIEGO — For the second consecutive day, the Braves held on to win an exhausting game against the Padres. In this one, they used eight pitchers to secure a 4-3 win. The Braves swept the three-game series in San Diego because their one loss Friday was a continuation from a game that started July 21.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday:

1. The Braves went 7-3 on their western road trip (excluding the loss in the resumed game against the Padres). They rebounded nicely after dropping two of three in San Francisco, going 6-1 in their remaining contests against the hapless Diamondbacks and free-falling Padres.

“It was a great trip,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “Seven and four (including the suspended game) is a pretty good trip, especially having to go to San Fran and here (San Diego). Arizona, we had a good four games against them too. It’s huge this time of the year, especially against a playoff contention team (like the Giants and Padres, who were officially eliminated Saturday).”

Sunday was the Braves’ final road contest of the regular season. They finished 46-35 away from home, a record that was bolstered by their franchise-best 13-game road winning streak in August. The Braves went 16-14 on the road during the shortened 2020 season and 47-34 away from home in 2019 and 2018, with each year culminating in a division title.

Braves 4, Padres 3 (box score)

2. Eight Braves pitchers appeared in Sunday’s win. It finished with closer Will Smith, who despite walking the bases loaded came out unscathed. With the bags full and one out, Smith fanned Trent Grisham and Ha-Seong Kim on six pitches each to notch his 35th save.

“That’s one thing I learned going through Tommy John (surgery), when you’re sitting on the bench, you realize you can slow the game down and make your pitches pitch by pitch,” Smith said. “It’s either going to go one way or the other, your way or his way. We just got lucky tonight that it went our way.”

3. With the game tied at three, Braves pinch-hitter Orlando Arcia laced a double off Padres reliever Pierce Johnson that scored the eventual winning run. Arcia also drew a lead-off walk in the 10th inning of Saturday’s win, so he made a difference for the Braves in consecutive days.

Utilityman Ehire Adrianza also had an important at-bat when he dropped a bloop single into center to score the Braves’ third run. The Braves’ bench is showing its value at the right time.

4. Third baseman Austin Riley ripped a 108-mph double in the fourth inning, extending his career-best hitting streak to 12 games. Riley just had what might’ve been the best road trip of his life: He hit .378 (17-for-45) over 10 games with five doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs. He had nine two-out RBIs over the last seven days.

5. The Braves’ magic number to win the National League East dropped to five with their victory and the Phillies’ loss to the Pirates. The Braves will enter Tuesday’s series against Philadelphia with a 2-1/2 game advantage over the Phillies — the same lead they held when their road trip began.

“We knew coming into these 10 days it was going to be rough, really rough coming out here with who we played,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the road trip. “These last two games, my God. I’m proud of the guys. This could’ve been real easy to use this (slate) as an excuse, quite honestly. These guys fought their (butt) off for the last 10 days. It’s been rough. It’s unbelievable how they keep piecing it together and competing. It was huge.”

Stat to know

46-35 (The Braves finished 46-35 on the road this season.)

Up next

The Braves are off Monday before beginning their biggest series of the year Tuesday against the second-place Phillies. Charlie Morton (13-6, 3.53) will face Phillies ace Zack Wheeler (14-9, 2.79) in the series opener.