Inside the Braves’ thrilling comeback victory over the Diamondbacks and what it means going forward

Austin Riley celebrates his home run with Matt Olson in the first inning of Monday's win over the Diamondbacks.

Credit: Darryl Webb

Credit: Darryl Webb

Austin Riley celebrates his home run with Matt Olson in the first inning of Monday's win over the Diamondbacks.

PHOENIX – This was the type of dramatic, thrilling win that can change a season. In a month or two, this victory might be viewed as the moment the Braves began clicking – for good.

It had everything.

A comeback with two outs in the ninth. A clutch home run. An unreal play. An unsung hero. A game-saving swing from a guy on his first day with the team.

On Monday at Chase Field, the Braves faced defeat and turned it into victory. They stunned the Diamondbacks and their home crowd with Sean Murphy’s game-tying home run in the ninth inning that kept the Braves alive.

Down to their final strike in the ninth, the Braves pulled out a 5-4 win over Arizona in 11 innings. With it, they ended a streak of 28 consecutive losses when their opponent scores at least four runs.

“It was great,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was a team effort right there. We’re kind of laying dead in the weeds there, and (Murphy) kind of breathed a little into us.”

Five observations on this incredible win:

1. The Braves on Monday promoted Eddie Rosario to the big-league team after three days in Triple A. By around 8:50 p.m. local time, the game rested on his bat. He stepped in to face Arizona closer Paul Sewald.

On the second pitch of the battle, Rosario fouled off a high four-seam fastball. Then he swung through another four-seamer at the top of the zone.

So on the fourth pitch, Sewald threw a fastball up above the zone and away. It was so high that it might’ve been adjacent to Rosario’s collarbone.

And somehow, he hit a single into right field.

“I’m not surprised. I’ve done it before,” Rosario said of hitting that pitch. “It’s not a surprise for me.”

The next batter, Murphy, blasted a two-run shot to right-center field. It gave Sewald his third consecutive blown save.

The Braves fans who traveled to Phoenix went wild. So did the team. They had another chance. It looked like it might be a rough loss, but they had hope.

“I mean, pretty calm,” Murphy said of being in the batter’s box at that moment. “You just try and get your best swing off. Keep the line moving. Obviously, I hit the homer. But (my mindset) was just to get the next guy up, and see what happens. But it went my way and left the ballpark.”

The Braves scored once in the 10th inning, and Arizona matched it. Then in the 11th, Atlanta plated one run.

With the runner at second base, Joe Jiménez earned his second save.

It all started with Rosario’s insane swing.

“It was incredible,” Murphy said. “We know that from Eddie. Eddie can hit just about anything, and he knows it. He’s not afraid to go up there and swing. He’s dangerous no matter where you throw it.”

From the clubhouse, Bryce Elder – who started the game – watched that ninth inning. He saw the location of the pitch Rosario hit.

And what would he be thinking if he were Sewald?

“I’d probably be confused,” Elder said. “Especially with his fastball and the way that it plays, I’d probably be really confused. But Eddie put a good swing on it, so we’ll take it.”

2. To know baseball is to understand that the game’s biggest spot might not come in the ninth inning or later. The unsung heroes often arrive far before the game’s conclusion.

One Braves hero: Grant Holmes.

He entered the game with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and issued a walk that permitted a run – a run charged to Elder, not Holmes – and then didn’t surrender another. Holmes didn’t give up an earned run over three innings.

The Braves trailed by two runs as Holmes recorded nine outs over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He kept the deficit at two runs.

“He’s just come up and he knows his role and he knows he’s in there to throw strikes and get outs, and give us some innings,” Murphy said. “And when he gets in there, he does exactly that. He keeps his foot on the pedal and puts pressure on the other offense just to swing the bats. Man, he was great tonight. All credit to him.”

Think about it this way: Had Holmes not pitched well, the Braves would’ve faced a steeper climb in the final few innings. Rosario and Murphy recorded the hits that will be remembered, but Holmes kept Atlanta within striking distance.

Holmes has allowed two earned runs over the first 15 2/3 innings of his career. He’s the first Braves reliever to give up two or fewer runs in at least 15 2/3 innings over the first seven games of his career since … Taylor Phillips in 1956.

Then you had closer Raisel Iglesias, who threw two innings for the first time since 2021, when he played for the Angels. He threw only 11 pitches in the ninth inning, and wanted to go back out for the 10th. Snitker said he only would’ve used Iglesias if the Braves scored in the 10th, which they did on Ozzie Albies’ sacrifice fly. Iglesias allowed the inherited runner to score in extras, but did his job as he kept it tied.

“It means he wants to win, and that’s the kind of guy I want with the ball at the end of the game,” Murphy said of Iglesias going two innings.

In the 11th, with a runner at second, Jiménez ended the game.

“It’s huge,” Jiménez said. “I think when you get into those situations, especially now in extra innings, you’ve gotta do your best just to hold the runner, especially if we have the lead. It’s crazy, but great.”

3. Joc Pederson, the former Brave, stood at third base, as the D-backs continued threatening in the sixth. Holmes tried to work his way out of it.

With one out, Gabriel Moreno popped up a ball behind first base in foul territory. Olson sprinted toward the ball, which headed deeper into foul territory down the right-field line.

With his back to the ball, he slid, held out his glove and snagged the ball, and in the same motion, slid around on his knees and slung a throw toward home. Somehow, he got the ball to Murphy at home, and Pederson ran back to third base.

“I mean, that was spectacular,” Murphy said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh man, I kind of want to let that one drop.’ But he had the wherewithal to slide and make that throw, and then got enough on it, too, (that) he held the runner. That was the play of the game. That saved a run right there.”

He had to catch the ball. And then he had to find a way to make a decent throw.

It was unbelievable.

“I don’t know how he did that,” Snitker said. “And just to get up and launch it toward home.”

4. The Braves took a one-run lead into the bottom of the sixth. They left with a two-run deficit.

In the frame, the Braves made an error and walked three straight batters – two from Elder, one from Holmes.

And it appeared as if this inning would be too much to overcome for the bats.

Three batters into the game, Austin Riley provided Arizona’s Yilber Diaz – a 23-year-old making his MLB debut – with a welcome-to-the-majors moment. Riley swung at a 97 mph fastball inside and deposited it onto the concourse beyond the tall wall in center field.

It became the Braves’ only run against Diaz. The right-hander held Atlanta to that one run over six innings. He worked out of a couple jams.

The Braves have had a confusing inability to convert on key opportunities this season. And on Monday, they went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.

Then came the ninth, when they tied the game against Sewald and wiped away everything that came before Murphy’s blast.

5. To this point, the Braves have struggled to gain momentum. They’ll win a string of games, then revert to their old habits. For fans, it’s been confusing and frustrating.

This type of victory – a comeback on the road versus a good team – can be the start of something new.

“I mean, I think it’s good,” Elder said. “I think the hard wins are the ones that get you rolling. Just kind of watching the past couple of weeks, these are the kind of wins that can get us on a run.”

The Braves are known for their offense that will shock opponents late in games if it hasn’t already clobbered them before that. But to this point, the Braves have been rather quiet – by their standards, at least – in the final stages of games.

Not this time.

On this night, they struck late and completed a signature victory. It might be the best win of the season.

What might it do for them going forward?

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out,” Snitker said. “It’s a good win. That’s a tough, hard-fought win right there.”

Stat to know

2-33 - Before Monday, the Braves were 2-33 when trailing after eight innings.

Quotable

“Yeah, I would say it does. Hopefully that leads to some more momentum going forward. I think we all feel pretty good about tonight.”-Murphy on if a comeback win like this brings a team extra momentum

Up next

We’ve got a heck of a matchup on deck: On Tuesday, Sale will pitch against Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen. First pitch is at 9:40 p.m.