The Braves’ comeback attempt fell short Sunday when Jose Siri’s two-run shot off Raisel Iglesias in the ninth sent them to an 8-6 loss to Tampa Bay. It snapped a three-game winning streak. It also led the team to send top pitching prospect Hurston Waldrep back to Triple-A after he couldn’t complete four innings in his home debut.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday:

1. Third baseman Austin Riley entered the weekend with three homers. He doubled that total by homering in each game, the last of which was a two-run game-tying shot in the eighth off acclaimed Rays reliever Jason Adam.

It was an emotional home run for Riley. Around 2:30 a.m., Riley learned his friend and mentor Mike Brumley, 61, was killed in a car accident. Brumley was a former hitting coordinator in the Braves organization from 2018 to March 2022. He assisted in the development of several young hitters in the organization, with Riley often crediting him for his growth throughout the years.

“There are very few people who’ve been role models in my baseball career; my dad being No. 1, and Mike Brumley being No. 2,” Riley said. “I feel for his family and his kids and everyone he was close to. It’s a tragic, tragic day. Prayers out to his family. It’s a tough pill to swallow, for sure.”

Riley saw Brumley several days ago when the Braves were in Baltimore. The two spoke on a regular basis and had what Riley described as a special relationship. Brumley has been instrumental in helping Riley overcome his recent struggles, the player said.

Riley never went back to sleep after learning the news and was thinking about Brumley throughout the day. He pointed towards the sky and look upwards as he rounded the bases during his home run.

“It’s going to be tough going forward,” Riley said. “Just from a mental standpoint and trying to figure things out. Just have to pray harder and lean on God as much as possible. It’s in his hands. But just a tragic loss.”

2. After two outings, it’s clear Waldrep isn’t ready for the majors. And that’s OK; he just needs more developmental innings in Triple-A Gwinnett, where the Braves optioned him following the game.

Waldrep surrendered six earned runs on five hits, walking four in 3-1/3 innings. He surrendered two homers, including a back-breaking grand slam to Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt.

“It’s pretty cut and dry: It’s not good, it wasn’t what we needed and it’s not what I prepared for or worked for,” Waldrep said. “That’s the game of baseball. If you could draw it up and throw a perfect game every time, I think everybody would. You go out there and give it your best and sometimes you don’t get rewarded for it.”

3. In two starts (seven innings), Waldrep has allowed 13 earned runs on nine hits. He has eight walks against three strikeouts. The Braves aggressively promoted the Florida product as they continued evaluating their rotation options, but Waldrep should now benefit from a return to the minors.

“Experience is the only thing he doesn’t have,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He has stuff. He has intangibles. The whole thing. He just lacks experience. Going forward, this will be great for him. It always is. It’s rough sledding up here when you don’t have that experience, but you take a lot away from this.”

The Thomasville native could eventually earn a permanent spot in the rotation, but a two-start sample size indicated he won’t help the team’s immediate needs. He said he doesn’t see this as a setback and feels he’ll learn from the brief experience.

After all, a year ago at this time, Waldrep, 22, was pitching for the Gators in the College World Series.

“Mentally, physically; all that last year was a lot, but it’s a lot to learn from,” Waldrep said. “Mentally, more than anything, being able to learn from all that, grow and develop. It’s been a wild ride, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”

4. The Braves promoted reliever Grant Holmes to their roster before the game and he made his MLB debut in the sixth inning. Holmes, 28, was a top Dodgers prospect almost a decade ago and has persisted in the minor leagues hoping for this opportunity.

Holmes struck out outfielder Randy Arozarena to begin a clean inning. He wound up pitching three scoreless frames, surrendering two hits while striking out two.

“I was happy for him, a guy who’s been around as long as he has and just kept fighting and grinding through,” Snitker said. “It’s really cool. And he did a great job. I can’t think of where our bullpen would be right now if it wasn’t for him.”

5. After losing Ronald Acuña and Michael Harris II, it appeared the Braves would have a gigantic void at leadoff. But Jarred Kelenic has swiftly excelled in his new role. Fresh off a three-hit Saturday, Kelenic blasted the first lead-off home run of his career. He homered in consecutive games for the first time this season.

“I’m not looking at it too much differently, just trying to take it an at-bat by at-bat,” Kelenic said. “Offensively, I think we’re going in the right direction (as a team).”

Stat to know

32-19; 6-12 (The Braves are a combined 32-19 in starts by Max Fried, Reynaldo Lopez, Chris Sale and Charlie Morton. They’re 6-12 in games started by anyone else.)


“We’re healing (offensively).” – Snitker

Up next

The Braves open a three-game series against the Tigers on Monday. Max Fried (6-3, 3.20) will oppose Tigers right-hander Reese Olson (1-8, 3.68).