Another day, another thriller at Truist Park.

The Braves won again as they beat the Phillies, 8-5, in Thursday’s series opener.

Five observations:

1. Tie game. Bottom of the eighth inning. One out.

This is when a beautiful sequence ensued.

Ozzie Albies singled. Marcell Ozuna hit a ground-rule double. Orlando Arcia walked, which loaded the bases.

Then Braves manager Brian Snitker made a move that made the difference: He inserted Travis d’Arnaud as a pinch-hitter in Michael Harris II’s spot. (Harris has struggled, and d’Arnaud’s handedness also probably made him a good option.)

The right-handed-hitting D’Arnaud laced a two-run single off lefty reliever Gregory Soto. The Braves led by two runs.

After Ronald Acuña Jr.’s single, Matt Olson lifted a sacrifice fly. The Braves led by three runs.

This is what the Braves are talking about when they say “keep the line moving” and “trust the guy behind you.”

“We rely heavily on the long ball, but when you can get those guys, one, two, three, back-to-back hits, a couple walks here and there, I think that’s when we’re clicking good,” Austin Riley said.

“Not trying to do too much, not trying to hit a homer,” d’Arnaud said. “Just keep passing it and taking it hitter by hitter, one run at a time.”

“Just a lot of really good things happening,” Snitker said.

In Wednesday’s win, d’Arnaud moved Riley to third with a professional at-bat. On Thursday, as Arcia’s at-bat unfolded, Snitker made the decision to go to d’Arnaud. “It means a lot,” d’Arnaud said of his manager’s faith in him.

Then he delivered – again.

“I love me some Travy,” Riley said. “He’s one of a kind. Just such a team guy. … Whatever the situation calls for, that’s what he’s trying to do up there.”

2. It might be time to warn pitchers: Riley may be heating up.

Riley homered twice, both off Aaron Nola, in Atlanta’s win. The first traveled 459 feet, the second 458 feet. The home runs landed in nearly identical spots in the left-center field seats.

Since Statcast began tracking in 2015, Riley is the fourth player to hit multiple home runs of at least 450 feet in the same game.

“You don’t feel ‘em that’s for sure,” Riley said about hitting mammoth homers, also citing Olson’s comment from earlier this season about how they feel like marshmallows off the bat.

His first home run, which came in the first inning, gave the Braves a 2-0 lead. His second blast, in the fifth, put them up a run. His power helped guide the Braves through a back-and-forth game.

Riley, on an eight-game hitting streak, has collected six extra-base hits over his last four games.

Before this win, Riley had hit .232 with a .665 OPS – far below his high standards – since April 18.

Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley watches his solo home run during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

3. And perhaps facing Nola helped Riley.

After Thursday, these are Riley’s numbers versus the Phillies starter: 20-for-45 with five doubles, five home runs and nine RBIs. And Riley entered with a 1.229 OPS versus Nola – the second-highest OPS for any hitter against Nola (behind Acuña Jr.).

Asked why he sees Nola so well, Riley said: “That’s a good question. Not really sure. I think it’s just one of those things. Not really sure what to put it to.”

4. Ozuna had five hits in April. Five.

In May?

Eight home runs.

Here’s more: Ozuna has played in 36 games this season. He drove in two runs over the first 18, then totaled 19 RBIs over the next 18.

In the second inning, Ozuna launched a solo shot off Nola, which tied the game at the time.

5. Lefty Dylan Dodd, brought up to start this game, allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings. He served up two home runs, including a moonshot to Bryce Harper. He struck out three and walked one.

“I thought my stuff was OK. I didn’t think it was really bad or really good,” Dodd said. “I felt like the game kind of sped up on me a little bit there in the second and third innings. … But I felt like I was finally able to settle in a little bit in that fourth and fifth, besides the homer. But I felt I was more in control of the game and I was really taking my time between each pitch those last two innings.”

Asked if Dodd would slot into Atlanta’s rotation, Snitker said he was simply trying to get through Thursday night.

Stat to know

500, 100, 300 - According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three players in Braves history have totaled 500 hits, 100 home runs and 300 RBIs in fewer games than Riley, who needed only 500 games for these marks: Fred McGriff did it in 412 games, Bob Horner did it in 429 and Eddie Mathews did it in 456 games.


“I think it’s huge. I’ve learned that the hard way, in ‘19 (during a big slump). I think that’s been in my back pocket when things don’t go well, and just being able to encourage myself that it’s there, it’s just a matter of time.” - Riley on the importance of not becoming flustered during a slump

Up next

On Friday, Braves left-hander Jared Shuster will start opposite Phillies right-hander Taijuan Walker. First pitch is at 7:20 p.m.