The Braves walloped the Rays for the second consecutive game, winning 9-2 at Truist Park as the offense continued its revival. It was the team’s third consecutive win following a five-game skid.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Three games mark a trend. The Braves’ offense looked alive and well again, producing a five-run fifth inning after creating a five-run first the previous night.

This monstrous frame, though, remarkably resembled the 2023 club. Jarred Kelenic, playing center and hitting leadoff, blasted a go-ahead two-run shot off Ryan Pepiot. After second baseman Ozzie Albies drew a walk, designated hitter Marcell Ozuna and first baseman Matt Olson hit consecutive homers.

A 1-0 deficit became a 5-1 lead in a series of swings. Those are the Braves everyone expected in 2024. And with three straight encouraging performances, it’s looking like the team’s key hitters are rejuvenated.

“We have so many talented guys in here,” Kelenic said. “Once we get a little bit of momentum, you feel like the game is kind of over. Once we took the lead right there, and especially the big dogs coming up behind me, they capitalized and had a big inning right there. Just a little bit of momentum and I was fired up about it.”

2. Olson’s recent run hasn’t generated much attention nationally, especially after his slow start, but he’s been phenomenal. Olson was hitting .344 (11-for-32) with a .963 OPS over his last eight games before going 2-for-4 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, third baseman Austin Riley had three homers entering the weekend. He has two over the past two nights, including a three-run homer off Garrett Cleavinger in the seventh Saturday.

“It was good to see Austin have back-to-back really nice days,” manager Brian Snitker said. “And Matt, too.”

3. Kelenic’s role has continued increasing throughout the season. First in a left-field platoon with Adam Duvall, Kelenic became the every-day left fielder after Ronald Acuña tore his ACL. Now, he’s the center fielder in Michael Harris II’s absence due to a strained left hamstring. And while he was acquired with the idea that he’d hit at the bottom of the order, Kelenic is the leadoff man, too, with Acuña and Harris out.

“I’m just trying to treat it as one at-bat at a time,” Kelenic said. “That’s what I’ve been doing this whole year. It allows me to be present in the box. It makes me not get too big or let the lows get too low. It makes you stay even-keel and play chess against the pitcher.”

Kelenic looked natural in center, showing his speed and athleticism to track down fly balls. In the lead-off role, he had three hits, including the homer. Kelenic’s .738 OPS ranks third among healthy Braves behind only Ozuna (1.021) and Olson (.794).

4. Harris has a grade-2 strain, an MRI revealed. The team doesn’t have a timetable for his return.

“They (hamstring strains) are all different; it takes time to get to where they can get it (healthy),” Snitker said.

Newcomer Ramon Laureano, summoned from Triple-A Gwinnett following Harris’ injury, went 1-for-4 with a run scored. He had a couple loud outs, too, with exit velocities exceeding 100 (including one that traveled 394 feet).

Laureano will get an opportunity to make a positive impression and earn consistent playing time in this shorthanded outfield.

“It’s always good when a new guy comes in and gets a hit and scores a run,” Snitker said. “When they can contribute, it’s really good. I’ve seen this guy really good. He’s a good ballplayer and he’s a high energy guy, I can tell that. Those were the reports from Triple-A. It’s really nice to have a guy with that kind of experience.”

5. Veteran Charlie Morton, facing his old team, held the Rays to one run on three hits over six innings. Morton lowered his ERA to 3.91 through 13 starts in his age 40 season.

Stat to know

3 -- The Braves hit three homers in the fifth inning, the second time this season they’ve launched three home runs in one frame (also done on May 10 at New York)


“The last couple games, we’ve come out of (our struggles) a little bit. It’s definitely exciting because we’re headed in the right direction.” – Kelenic

Up next

Hurston Waldrep (0-1, 17.18) will make his first start at Truist Park against Rays righty Zach Eflin (3-4, 4.06).