Braves’ Austin Riley catches fire in second half

Braves third baseman Austin Riley has caught fire again. And he’s leading the rejuvenated offense that’s helped the Braves move to a season-best two games above .500.

Riley is hitting .367/.424/.747 in 21 games since the All-Star break. His 25 RBIs are most in MLB over that span, besting Joey Votto (24) and Bo Bichette (21).

In parts of three seasons, Riley’s young career has been defined by streaks. But he played in only 80 games in 2019 and 51 games during the abbreviated 2020 campaign. It’s easy to forget Riley had only 240 games under his belt entering Saturday.

“What I did in the minor leagues is coming over to the big leagues right now,” Riley said of him finding consistency. “The approach is there. The plan is there, executing it. Not swinging at too many bad pitches. That’s what has given me the success.”

Riley also has relished two-out opportunities, an area in which his team has excelled during its four-game win streak (16 of the team’s 29 runs over the run have come with two outs). Riley blasted a game-tying two-run homer with two outs in the eighth during the finale Thursday against St. Louis. He had an RBI single in the fifth inning Friday.

The past few weeks are the best Riley has looked since his hot streak in May. He’s grown into a more patient hitter and consistent power threat, with presumably plenty more room to grow at age 24.

“Watching him all year, how he’s hung in there and weathered some storms,” manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s how you get on winning streaks and win games, with two-out RBIs. He’s had some really good at-bats.”