Then, the offense that had been quiet all day quickly erupted for four runs to take back the lead.
With two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the eighth, the struggling Marcell Ozuna cranked a game-tying, two-run homer off Padres reliever Steven Wilson. Two batters later, Austin Riley gave Atlanta a lead with a run-scoring double.
The result: Perhaps the finest win of the season.
“We’re never out of it,” Riley said. “We always think that we’re in it. We don’t give up until the very last out. I think that puts pressure on teams to know that they got to compete all the way until the final out.”
2. This comeback would have been crazy in any game. The fact it followed an ugly top of the eighth? That made it even more impressive.
“That eighth inning, I couldn’t have laid in bed and dreamed about a bad outcome for an inning to come even close to that,” Snitker said. “And how them guys bounced back was unbelievable.”
In the top half, Matt Olson committed an error that allowed Trent Grisham to reach second base with one out. Grisham advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single.
Kenley Jansen, who entered for Will Smith, induced what looked to be a double-play ball, but Riley’s throw sailed into the outfield as two more runs scored. One final run scored when another potential double-play ball turned into a run as Eric Hosmer beat the throw to first.
The Braves gave up four unearned runs and the lead.
They made sure it didn’t matter.
“We never give up,” Ozzie Albies said. “That’s our game. We keep pushing and pushing the envelope every day because we want to win.”
3. When the Braves changed pitchers in that top of the eighth, Ozuna talked to Guillermo Heredia in center field.
“Baseball is crazy,” Ozuna said he told Heredia.
And in the bottom half, the guy who had struck out three times to that point, the one whose average had dipped under .200 at one point during this game, launched a home run that reminded you what he is capable of in this game.
Before this homer, Ozuna had gone 16 games without an extra-base hit and 22 without a home run. (Coincidentally, he hit his last two home runs in San Diego in April). He was 4-for-42 this month prior to Saturday’s game.
When he hit the game-tying homer?
“I didn’t believe it,” Ozuna said.
That’s because he hit a deep flyout to Padres outfielder Jurickson Profar in Friday’s loss. “No way,” Ozuna thought as he saw Profar waiting for this ball.
This time, the ball sailed over Profar’s head and over the wall.
4. Charlie Morton turned in another encouraging start, the type that perhaps leads you to believe he is returning to form.
Over his last two starts, he has allowed one run over 11 innings, with 14 strikeouts. He has only allowed four hits while walking four batters.
He pitched well in his May 8 start versus the Brewers, then looked even better against the Padres. Morton held San Diego to a run over six innings while tallying a season-high nine strikeouts.
5. Olson and Sean Manaea both debuted for Oakland in 2016. Both became valuable parts of the Athletics’ core, so much so that the organization – looking to cut costs – traded both this spring.
In their first at-bat against one another, Olson took a sinker and sent it 399 feet over the brick wall in right-center field to give the Braves a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Stat to know
13-1: The Braves are 13-1 when they score first.
“I think it shows the growth and maturity of this team, and why they’ve been so successful over the last few years. They can turn the page. They can turn the page on a bad game and they can turn the page on a bad inning. These guys, they keep fighting, they keep grinding. That’s a great trait to have for a ballclub, and these guys have had it for years.” - Snitker on what the win says about his team
Braves right-hander Kyle Wright faces Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove in Sunday’s series finale, which begins at 11:35 a.m. (that’s not a typo) and will be on Peacock.