A late-inning controversial play at the plate was the difference Sunday. The Braves lost 7-6 to the Phillies, falling short of sweeping their division rival and suffering their first home loss of the season. It snapped the Braves’ four-game winning streak.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday:

1. Braves fans are screaming from the rooftops, “What’s the point of replay if you still don’t get the call right?” And it’s a legitimate question. It looked like what became the winning run should have been an inning-ending out. And MLB’s replay system fell under scrutiny after an apparent blunder on an ESPN-televised contest.

The Phillies’ Didi Gregorius slapped a popup off Will Smith to left field. Alec Bohm tagged from third, and Marcell Ozuna fired a two-hopper to catcher Travis d’Arnaud at home plate. It was a close play and Bohm was ruled safe. But the replay revealed Bohm didn’t actually touch home plate. After a lengthy review, the call stood. The game was briefly delayed as fans threw trash onto the field. Loud “b.s.” chants were audible throughout Truist Park (and they weren’t chanting the initials).

The Braves went three up, three down in the bottom of the ninth. A game — in which they received homers from Ronald Acuna and Freddie Freeman — was wasted. They fell just short of sweeping the same division rival who swept them last weekend.

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves manager Brian Snitker comments on the controversial call at home plate during ninth inning of 7-6 loss to Phillies in Atlanta.

2. Manager Brian Snitker said the umpires didn’t give him an explanation. He expects the team will contact the league office in New York.

“I wondered until I saw a certain angle, it confirmed what I thought: that he didn’t touch the plate,” said Snitker, who was ejected. “It’s frustrating sometimes. That’s what I told the umpires. I got a view on the big screen that he didn’t touch the plate.”

3. Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson wanted to speak with reporters so he could relay a message: He did not approve of the fans’ reaction after the call was upheld. Swanson said the following:

“What happened after (the call) — I love this city. I love our fans. They’re passionate. They care. But what happened after they announced that call, that’s the most embarrassing part of the whole night. Not the call, but the reaction and the throwing of things on the field. Because No. 1, it’s disrespectful to the people who put in so much work to have the field ready for us every day to make sure it’s in the best shape possible. No. 2, endangering players. That’s incredibly disrespectful. It’s an embarrassing representation of our city because I know, being from here, that’s not how we act.

“And then the worst part of it all, I don’t think people realize that we have families here. There are kids here. There are kids sitting in the front row and you have bottles whizzing by their heads. Just endangering kids who can’t protect themselves is downright embarrassing and it should never happen again. That’s honestly one of the real reasons I wanted to come in here, to say that. It needed to be said. It just can’t happen. It never needs to happen again.”

Braves grounds crew members clear up debris on the field thrown by disgruntled Braves fans after Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm (28) scored on a disputed call in the ninth inning Sunday, April 11, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)


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4. The play from d’Arnaud’s perspective: “Throw from Ozuna, nice two-hop, hit me right in the chest, and I leaned over, applied the tag and blocked the plate after I caught the ball. Initially, I didn’t know if he was safe or out ... after watching the replay, it looked to me like his foot didn’t touch the bag from any angle we saw that was shown on the field. Afterwards, I saw even more angles and it didn’t look like his foot touched the plate. I don’t know what they saw or didn’t see in New York, but I thought he was clearly out at home plate.”

D’Arnaud said he wants more transparency from the replay crew in New York. “They should probably get interviewed, too. That’s what I feel like.” d’Arnaud continued, saying he’s lost faith in the review system. “Every angle they showed, it looked like his foot clearly missed home plate. It makes me not even want (replay) anymore, honestly. It slows the game down. It took like five minutes for them to decide that, and to me, they got it wrong. So I’d rather just not have it and get the game going.”

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud comments on his perspective on controversial call at home plate during ninth inning of 7-6 loss to Philadelphia in Atlanta.

5. The MLB supervisor explanation (courtesy of The New York Times’ James Wagner): “After viewing all relevant angles, the Replay Official could not definitively determine that the runner failed to touch home plate prior to the fielder applying the tag. The call STANDS, the runner is safe.”

During his post-game media session, Bohm provided a quote that covers the bottom-line: “I was called safe. That’s all that matters.” And the Phillies moved to 6-3, while the Braves dropped to 4-5.

Stat of the game

There aren’t any numbers that will explain the story of Sunday’s game, but the Braves’ offense continued trending upwards. Since they were held to three total runs over their first 28 innings of the season, the Braves have scored 33 runs in their past six games (5.5 runs per game).


“We have five different angles on a nationally televised game. It’s clear his foot didn’t touch the plate. It was on the chalk. Everyone saw it, everyone knows it. For MLB not to overturn that, it’s embarrassing. Why even have replay if you’re not going to overturn that?” (Starter Drew Smyly on the controversial replay. Smyly allowed five runs over five innings in his first home start.)

MVP moment

The Braves presented their many 2020 award winners with their hardware before the game. The highlight: Hall of Famer Chipper Jones giving Freddie Freeman his National League MVP award. Before Freeman won the MVP last season, Jones was the Braves’ most recent winner (1999). It was a fitting cross between eras.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) hugs Hall of Famer Chipper Jones as he is presented the MVP Award for the 2020 season before game against Philadelphia Phillies Sunday, April 11, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)


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14,221. The Braves hosted 42,957 fans across three games this weekend. This was their first series with fans back in the stadium since the 2019 National League Division Series.

Up next

The Braves open a four-game series against the Marlins on Monday. Huascar Ynoa will make his second start of the season against Miami’s Sandy Alcantara. It will be the teams’ first meeting since the Braves swept the Marlins last October in the NLDS (at the neutral Houston site).