Saturday revealed a reason this team is so dangerous: The wins don’t have to look the same.
“It’s good to find these different ways to win, which we’ve done this homestand a bunch,” Matt Olson said.
Saturday had two games in one night. The teams took a 1-1 tie into extra innings, then combined for seven runs in two innings. The Braves trailed by two runs in the 10th and a run in the 11th, and fought.
The Braves won the game on Travis d’Arnaud’s pinch-hit single through the right side.
“This team’s been like that for as long as I’ve been here,” manager Brian Snitker said. “They never quit. As long as they’ve got a strike left, they’ve got a chance.”
2. Olson joked about a ball he hit in the 11th inning.
“I was saying in there it might be the best hit of my career,” he said with a smile.
The Braves, who have fallen victim to lucky hits, got one of their own when Olson hit a 70.3-mph check-swing double that found the outfield grass because Houston had shifted and no one was at shortstop. The double tied the game.
“It was a good pitch – (slider) down that had some good action,” Olson said. “Didn’t want to chase it and pulled up on the swing. Was not happy with the fact that I made contact at first and then saw that nobody was standing there. I think I actually started laughing pretty quickly and got to second. Yeah, that was a lucky one.”
And while speaking to reporters and laughing about it, Olson used an old adage.
“Hey, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” he said.
A couple minutes after Olson’s hit, d’Arnaud sent everyone home.
3. Michael Harris loves the big spots, like the one he encountered in the 10th inning.
“I definitely live up to those moments,” he said, “and I love them.”
With Atlanta trailing by two runs and down to its final two outs, he smoked a 112.8-mph run-scoring double. Robbie Grossman tied the game with an RBI single.
The 21-year-olds Harris and Vaughn Grissom – who homered in the fifth inning – have given the Braves a huge boost.
“I’m most impressed with how high of a baseball IQ they have at such a young age, and in such big games and big moments,” d’Arnaud said. “The game doesn’t really seem to speed up on them, which is very rare for a young kid. I’m glad they’re on our side and I don’t have to game plan against them or play against them.”
4. The Braves are 18-10 in one-run games this season. Their .643 winning percentage in those contests leads the National League and ranks second on MLB.
Since a one-run loss on July 7, the Braves have won seven one-run games in a row.
They have put in the work to win these types of games.
“Just small conversations throughout the year to get to know the person next to you,” d’Arnaud said. “To know how they feel in certain situations or what they think in certain situations. So to just get everybody as close and tight-knit as you can, so in these crazy games where the lights might be a little brighter, you always have each other’s back and play better.”
5. You may have heard critics (Hint: they probably live in New York) talk about the Braves feasting on soft parts of the schedule. That chatter intensified when Atlanta dropped four of five games in Queens at the beginning of the month.
Well, the Braves are six games into a seven-game homestand with the Mets and Astros, who are two of baseball’s best teams.
Atlanta, which is also one of the sport’s best squads, is 5-1.
D’Arnaud said the players are staying loose by cracking jokes at one another.
“If you can take a joke from your teammate, you can get being made fun of from anybody,” d’Arnaud said. “I think it brings us together even more. Even the young guys make fun of me too, and it’s fair game.”
Stat to know
3 - Saturday marked the third walk-off RBI of d’Arnaud’s career, and his first since 2019 when he played for the Rays.
“Our focus just goes up. We got a lot of people that like those moments and can step up in those moments at any time. I just feel like we have a good team.” - Harris on the Braves excelling in big spots
Charlie Morton will face Houston’s Jose Urquidy in Sunday’s series finale, which begins at 1:35 p.m.