PITTSBURGH — On the night of Aug. 7, the Braves’ clubhouse, which is loud and lively after wins, was silent. Players simply dressed, grabbed their belongings and walked out of the visitors’ clubhouse for the trip out of New York. It had been a nightmare weekend.

The Braves had just lost four of five games to the Mets, which dropped the Braves to 6 ½ games behind their National League East rivals. This was the kind of series that can end a team’s chance of winning its division. But there still were almost two months to play, and the Braves still believed they were as good as any club in baseball.

“Baseball is a weird game, man,” Dansby Swanson said Wednesday. “... For those five (games), we (played badly). But it was kind of one of those that it was so bad that you could just flush it and just move on and be done with it.”

Two-and-a-half weeks after that disappointing series and the somber scene that followed, the Braves are back – again.

With Wednesday’s 14-2 thrashing of the Pirates, which concluded a three-game sweep at PNC Park, the Braves pulled within 1 ½ games of the first-place Mets. The Braves (78-48) have 36 games remaining, including three at home versus the Mets. They are alive and well as they try to win a fifth consecutive division title under president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos.

Those in Queens must be upset. The Mets, who lost two games to the Yankees before their off-day Wednesday, have not necessarily played poorly – the Braves simply are not losing often. The Mets cannot rid themselves of the Braves, who continue climbing up the standings and hanging around, threatening to take first place.

Since that series in New York, which contained the Braves’ first three-game losing streak of the season, the Braves are 14-2 in their past 16 games. Three of those wins came against the Mets at Truist Park, a series victory that helped the Braves begin to grab momentum in the division. Since the beginning of June, the Braves are 55-21. They have won five consecutive series.

“Good players, but also I feel like we show up to play every day, we show up to prepare,” Swanson said. “And I feel like we can beat you in different ways, right? We can pitch it, we can play defense, and obviously we can swing it a little bit, too. Just whatever that day dictates, we’re going to make it happen.”

Added Kyle Wright: “We’ve got a lot of good guys in here. It starts with guys staying on top of stuff. Got a lot of just really routine-oriented guys, and I think that plays a big part. We just never get too high, never get too low, you stay in the middle. I think that allows you to stay on top of things and ultimately be consistent.”

The Braves’ 12-run win is tied for their most lopsided victory of the season. They fell two runs shy of tying their season-high scoring total for a contest. Eight Braves collected a hit, and six drove in at least one run. The team tallied 14 hits.

The Braves used a five-run fourth inning – their second five-run frame in as many days – to turn the game into a blowout. They continued the rout with a seven-run eighth inning, highlighted by Matt Olson’s mammoth grand slam that sailed over the deck in right field and into the Allegheny River. The Braves batted around in both innings.

Before the Braves even made an out in the top of the eighth inning, they started like this: Michael Harris walked, Robbie Grossman singled, Ronald Acuña hit a run-scoring single, Swanson singled, Austin Riley was hit by a pitch to score a run, Olson crushed a grand slam and William Contreras singled. The Braves sent 12 batters to the plate, and Pirates pitchers needed 50 pitches to get three outs.

In that eighth inning, Olson pulverized a slider that flew high and way over the heads of the fans standing at the back railing in the deck beyond the right-field wall. A broadcast camera angle showed a splash in the river, and you could see Olson’s 420-foot grand-slam ball – which left the bat at 112.7 mph – floating away. He is the 45th different player to homer into the Allegheny River and the first Brave to do so. He finished with three extra-base hits.

“I couldn’t really tell (from my) angle if it was fair or foul, but (it was) hit a long ways,” Swanson said of the home run.

Four innings before Olson’s loud blast, which everyone knew would leave the yard, the Braves made this a laugher. They scored all five runs in the fourth inning with two outs as they batted around for the first time in this contest. The first run scored on a fielding error, the next three crossed on Swanson’s bases-clearing double and Riley drove home one more with a single.

Wright spent most of Wednesday’s start in the dugout as his offense destroyed Pittsburgh pitching. Wright needed only 73 pitches to complete seven scoreless innings. He held the Pirates to two hits and struck out eight. The right-hander’s 16 wins are tied for the MLB lead.

After an exciting homestand, the Braves did not fall victim to a letdown against one of baseball’s worst clubs. They swept lowly Pittsburgh and are headed to St. Louis to face the NL Central’s first-place team.

The Braves, who are on a tear, are inching closer to the first-place Mets – again.

Something is for certain: The NL East race is far from over.

“It sure helps, everything that they’ve experienced over the last few years and all the big games they’ve played in and pennant races and all that,” manager Brian Snitker said. “You know as long as you got a bunch of games left and you’re not eliminated, you got a chance. We’ll just continue. We’ve got another tough series coming, a team that’s playing really well. It’s going to be a good weekend.”