5 things Braves: Heroics of Pablo Sandoval

Braves pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval (center right) celebrates after hitting a home run in the sixth inning Thursday, April 15, 2021, against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Brynn Anderson/AP)
Braves pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval (center right) celebrates after hitting a home run in the sixth inning Thursday, April 15, 2021, against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Brynn Anderson/AP)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Credit: Brynn Anderson

In just 13 plate appearances off the bench, Pablo Sandoval has put a dent on the record books with his bat.

Sandoval, otherwise known as “Panda,” has three pinch-hit homers. His next one over the fence will set the franchise’s single-season record — shared with Johan Camargo (2019), Evan Gattis (2013) and Tommy Gregg (1990). And it’s just April.

Pablo Sandoval stats

More than help lead the team to victory, each homer has made an historic mark:

April 1: Phillies 3, Braves 2

With his team trailing 2-0 in the seventh inning, Sandoval belted an 0-2 pitch from Aaron Nola over the right-field wall. He became the fourth Braves player — second one in Atlanta — to hit a pinch-hit home run on opening day since 1901. Jimmy Johnston (1926), Chuck Tanner (1955) and Matt Joyce (2019) hit the others — coincidentally, all against the Phillies.

April 7: Braves 2, Nationals 0 (Game 2)

Sandoval hits a game-winning, two-run homer in Game 2 of a doubleheader in Washington. Sandoval became the first Brave to account for all the team’s runs with a pinch-hit homer twice in one season.

Braves pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval watches his two-run homer during the seventh inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Nationals Park in Washington. The Braves won the second game 2-0. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Braves pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval watches his two-run homer during the seventh inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Nationals Park in Washington. The Braves won the second game 2-0. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

“It’s really hard to do what (Sandoval) just did,” manager Brian Snitker said after the game. “To come off the bench and do what he did. The one thing about him is he’s aggressive. He was all spring, which made him attractive because no situation will be too big. It’s hard to do that twice in one week.”

April 15: Braves 7, Marlins 6

Sandoval’s third pinch-hit homer was another go-ahead — a three-run jack in the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins. That swing has him one shy of tying the big league record for most pinch-hit homers in a single month held by Erubiel Durazo, who hit four pinch-hit homers for the Diamondbacks in April 2001.