Braves’ observations: Harris with dramatics, Acuña with highlight

In baseball, coaches and players preach the idea of “flushing it.” No matter what happens, move to the next day.

Heading into an off day with a victory is certainly better than the opposite, though.

The Braves defeated Baltimore, 3-2, in 12 innings Sunday on Michael Harris II’s walk-off double. Atlanta is 24-11.

Five observations on the win:

1. With Harris in the one-deck circle, the Orioles decided to intentionally walk Marcell Ozuna to get to him.

“To see them walk Ozuna and want to have to face me,” Harris said, “it kind of put the fire in my you know what.”

The result: Facing Baltimore’s Cionel Perez, Harris hit a ball off the wall to score the winning run. The walk-off hit, the first of his career, gave the Braves a series win over a formidable opponent.

Harris felt like he’d put good swings on the ball all afternoon. He didn’t have anything to show for it. In one at-bat, he lifted a ball that was caught at the wall.

“Hit it to the deepest part and they catch it at the yellow line (at the wall),” Harris said. “I was having some good swings, good at-bats all day and really wasn’t getting anything out of it. So it was just good to see that and head into the next series.”

2. Ronald Acuña Jr. spotted the fly ball, then moved a few steps back so he could catch it with forward momentum for his rocket to third base.

It became his latest highlight.

“I was telling (Acuña that the runner was) tagging, but in my head, I was like, ‘I don’t even know why he’s tagging because this guy (is the) most accurate, throws 100 (mph) from the outfield, so I don’t even know you you’d test him,’” Harris said.

“That was a deep one, man,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “The majority of the guys are going to go on that. But I saw him circling in that thing and getting that head of steam coming in. Those guys are dangerous when they smell that, those type of players. I know as a (former) third base coach, those guys are looking for those opportunities, and he did everything right. Man, huge, huge play.”

In the top of the 11th inning, Acuña caught the 322-foot fly ball for one out, then hurled a missile to Austin Riley for the second out.

Yes, teams still run on Acuña.

Asked if he’s surprised by this, Acuña said this through interpreter Franco García: “No. I’m always anticipating for the runners to go. I just try to make the throw, make the play and they get themselves out, I guess.”

This was Acuña’s fourth outfield assist of the season.

3. Bryce Elder received the good fortune of starting the Peacock/NBC game that begins before noon. He was happy about it.

“I really love day games,” said Elder, who adjusted by getting up earlier and eating a good breakfast.

Elder battled through 5-1/3 innings. He only allowed one run, which felt like the best-case scenario considering how often the Orioles threatened to score.

“I say it over and over, but I just try to make good pitches,” Elder said. “If I make a good pitch, then I’m gonna try to do it again the next time. If I walk a guy on four pitches, it doesn’t change what I’m trying to do. So I think trying to be that simple and the simplicity of that – and when I’m not in that headspace, that’s where it does turn out more than just one.”

Elder has completed at least five innings in each of his last 12 starts, dating to April 12 of last season. Sunday marked his fifth start in which he’s allowed one run or fewer this season, the second-most such starts in baseball. He also lowered his ERA to 1.74, which ranks fourth among qualified starting pitchers.

4. Max Fried would’ve been lined up to start Wednesday’s game versus Boston. The Braves, however, have listed a “TBA” – to be announced – for that start.

“No, we’re just going through some things right now,” Snitker said when asked if there’s something wrong with Fried.

Snitker was vague on the subject.

The Braves are off on Monday and Thursday.

5. The Braves’ bullpen deserves major credit for Sunday’s win.

After Elder departed, five relievers combined to cover 6-2/3 innings the rest of the way. The only run that scored came in extra innings and was unearned because it was the ghost runner who began the inning at second base.

After Elder departed, Collin McHugh, Dylan Lee, Raisel Iglesias, Jesse Chavez and Michael Tonkin took the Braves the rest of the way.

“Really good,” Snitker said.

Stat to know

2 - The Braves have two wins, and are undefeated, in extra-inning contests this season.


“This club’s rough, man. I called them annoying the other day because their at-bats are so good. Top to bottom, it’s a tough team to navigate.”-Snitker on the Orioles

Up next

Charlie Morton will start Tuesday’s game versus the Red Sox, which will begin at 7:20 p.m.