Wednesday was the best offensive night in Braves history.
The Braves scored a franchise-record 29 runs on 23 hits, obliterating the Marlins 29-9 at Truist Park. They avoided a sweep with the unprecedented victory, which came 24 hours after they were shut out.
It was the 20th time an MLB team scored 25 or more runs in a game. It was the fourth time in the last 120 years a team scored 29 runs, and the first time a National League team had done so in the modern era (since 1900). The Braves' previous Atlanta-era single-game scoring record was 20; their franchise record was 23.
They hit seven homers, which fell one shy of the franchise high. It was, however, the most home runs they’ve hit in a home game. Eighteen of their runs were via the long ball.
“That was pretty amazing to be a part of,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “I’ve never seen an offense click like that together. It’s really hard to put into words, really. When you look up and see 29 runs on the board, it’s amazing. It was a fun offensive night to be a part of.”
Every Braves' starting position player had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Eight of them had multi-hit games. Eight of them had RBIs. The team fell one run shy of the major-league record (30), which was set by Texas in 2007.
The Braves scored multiple runs in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The catalyst was an 11-run second frame, which was the second time this season the Braves surpassed 10 runs in an inning. The only time the Braves posted two 10-or-more-run innings in one season was in 1950.
Adam Duvall stood out among Braves hitters. One week after his first three-homer game, Duvall had a two-run shot, three-run shot and grand slam. Duvall tied the Atlanta RBI record set by Tony Cloninger on July 3, 1966. He also became the first player in franchise history with two three-homer games; funny enough, his other came earlier this month (Sept. 2) at Boston.
“It’s pretty crazy, to be honest,” Duvall said. “I’ve known that homers come in bunches, but something like that is special. I’m going to enjoy this one tonight. That’s a big night. Twenty-nine runs in the NL record. That’s just top to bottom, we were on tonight. Everybody swung the bat well. That’s big coming down the stretch here. That was a big night for us and hopefully we’ll be able to carry it into this long (10-game) road trip.”
Months ago, outsiders were wondering if Duvall would even participate in the COVID-19 shortened season. As a type-1 diabetic, Duvall could’ve opted out under the high-risk category. Instead, he remained committed to playing. And it’s difficult to imagine where the Braves would be without him.
Duvall and his team scored seven runs in 1-2/3 innings against Miami starter Pablo Lopez, who just one month ago defeated the Braves in Miami. It was an even worse evening for reliever Jordan Yamamoto, who was charged 13 runs (12 earned) on 11 hits in 2-2/3 innings.
Freeman had a career-high six RBIs. Travis d’Arnaud added six. Ronald Acuna went 3-for-4 with three walks, four runs scored and five RBIs. He’s the second player since 1920 to accumulate such numbers, joining Cincinnati’s Sean Casey, who went 4-for-4 with three walks, five runs scored and six RBIs on May 19, 1999.
“This offense, everybody grinds each at-bat,” Duvall said. “As a pitcher, that has to wear on you a bit. We do a good job of putting good at-bats together, one after another. It was a pretty special night.”
In his first game back from a bone bruise in his wrist, Ozzie Albies homered and brought home two runs. The switch-hitter went 3-for-6 with three runs scored. The Braves shuffled their lineup upon his return – it’s safe to say they’ll give this arrangement another look.
Starter Tommy Milone gave up eight runs in 3-1/3 innings, yet his team won by 20. Milone, who’s disappointed since the Braves acquired him before the Aug. 31 trade deadline, became part of history too.
The Braves offense had similarly bailed him out on Aug. 30 against the Phillies, when they produced their other 10-run frame that helped overcome Milone’s seven runs allowed. Milone became the first starting pitcher in the modern era to have his team score 10 or more runs in an inning while he was in the game twice in the same season, but not earn the win in either contest, according to STATS, INC.
One more pitching oddity to top it off: Bryse Wilson earned a save in a 20-run win after pitching the final four frames. Wilson allowed one run on four hits over that span, which will be overshadowed in the fireworks but is nonetheless encouraging for a team seeking innings eaters.
“Worn out,” manager Brian Snitker said after the game. “Offense was great. Duvall has just been something else lately, a lot of these guys have. It’s just one of those weird nights where they just get rolling. It’s cool. I lost track of a lot of at-bats guys had. I asked (bench coach) Walt (Weiss) in there, ‘Did Duvall hit two or three (homers)?’ I couldn’t even remember. It was good. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Credit: Atlanta Braves
The anatomy of the Braves' all-time offensive onslaught:
Second inning: Albies, in his first at-bat since Aug. 4, grounded out with the bases loaded, scoring the Braves' first run and cutting their deficit to 2-1 (yes, the Braves at one point trailed in the game). Ender Inciarte’s sacrifice fly tied it. Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna singled in two more runs. Travis d’Arnaud homered, making it 7-2.
Austin Riley singled home the eighth run. Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer. Albies homered to cap the inning. The Braves scored 11 runs, 10 of which came with two outs. Score: 11-2.
Third inning: Freeman hit a two-run homer. It was the 1,500th hit of his career. Freeman is the 26th active major leaguer to reach the mark and the 12th Braves player (eighth in the modern era) to do so. Score: 13-2.
Fourth inning: Freeman laced a three-run double. The Braves had loaded the bases with a Duvall walk, Albies single and Acuna walk. 16-8.
Fifth inning: The Braves scored six in the fifth to break their Atlanta-era scoring record. Duvall hit a three-run homer. Acuna’s three-run blast set the new record. 22-8.
Sixth inning: Acuna tacked on a three-run double, which broke the Braves franchise’s single-game scoring mark. 25-8.
Seventh inning: The Braves somehow had a grand slam left in them. d’Arnaud singled, Swanson walked and Riley singled to load the bases. Duvall put it into the seats again for his second three-homer game in eight days, tying the team’s single-game RBI record. 29-9.
“I don’t know that it’s completely soaked in yet,” Duvall said roughly 20 minutes following the four hour, 14-minute trek. “I’m going to soak it in and enjoy it tonight, then get ready for tomorrow’s game.”
The Braves begin their final road trip of the season Thursday in Washington. They’ll face the Nationals four times, the Orioles three times and the Mets three times to complete the 10-game trip. Robbie Erlin will start Thursday in place of the injured Max Fried.
Gabriel Burns is a general assignment reporter and features writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After four years on the Braves beat, he's expanded his horizons and covers all sports. You'll find him writing about MLB, NFL, NBA, college football and other Atlanta-centric happenings.