The Braves won one of their wildest games in recent seasons Saturday, rallying from down two in the ninth and down three in the 12th to defeat the Phillies 8-7 at Truist Park. It was the type of win the team will hope propels them going forward.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. There was no shortage of late-inning madness, but the game was decided in the 12th. The Phillies scored three times in the top of the frame, helped by errors from catcher William Contreras and pitcher Jacob Webb.

The Braves, trailing 7-4, then went to work against Phillies reliever Enyel De Los Santos. Ozzie Albies was the automatic runner at second. Austin Riley joined him on base with a walk. Dansby Swanson followed with a single that loaded the bases. Contreras ripped a double to left that scored the three baserunners and tied the game.

Matt Moore replaced De Los Santos. Cristian Pache reached on a bunt, positioning Riley at third. Five pitches later, Ehire Adrianza hit a ball to right field that won it.

“When someone scores three runs in the top of the (12th), other teams would give up,” Adrianza said. “That didn’t happen with us. It was a great feeling to win this game.”

2. The reason the game made it to extras: Pablo Sandoval, the Braves’ pinch-hitting godsend. He tied the game with two outs in the ninth with a two-run pinch-hit homer off Hector Neris. It was Sandoval’s fourth pinch-hit blast of the season. He needs only one more to tie the franchise’s single-season record, set by Butch Nieman in 1945.

“It’s exciting, especially when there’s 100% fans in the stands,” Sandoval said. “Having the opportunity to share this moment was great.”

It was the second time Sandoval’s pinch-hit expertise struck the Phillies. He had a two-run pinch-hit homer on opening day that also led to extras. Sandoval also had a pinch-hit two-run homer that won the game against the Nationals and a pinch-hit three-run homer that pushed the Braves past the Marlins April 15.

Atlanta Braves' Pablo Sandoval celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Adrianza drew a two-out walk to set up Sandoval’s blast. Adrianza also hit the chopper that resulted in the throwing error that scored the tying run in the 11th before he won it an inning later. Saturday was the greatest example yet of how valuable Sandoval and Adrianza have become to a team that entered the season concerned about its bench.

3. Outfielder Ronald Acuna’s early exit loomed over the game. Acuna was hit in the left hand by a 98-mph pitch from Phillies reliever Sam Coonrod. Already frustrated after Coonrod’s previous pitch was inside, Acuna slammed his helmet in frustration. He was in evident pain and left the game.

X-Rays were negative and Acuna is day-to-day with a left pinky contusion, the Braves said. It was a best-case scenario, especially considering how much worse the injury looked when it happened.

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr., center, is assisted by trainers after being hit by a pitch thrown by Philadelphia Phillies' Sam Coonrod (not shown) in the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

4. First baseman Freddie Freeman unleashed plenty of frustrations with one swing. Freeman hit a solo homer off Vince Velasquez in the sixth, ending a 0-for-22 run that was the longest hitless streak in his career. The homer was his first hit in six games.

Freeman is two homers away from 250. He’d become the sixth player in franchise history to reach that mark, joining Hank Aaron (733), Eddie Mathews (493), Chipper Jones (468), Dale Murphy (371) and Andruw Jones (368).

5. A major subplot of the night was Contreras, who committed two errors in extras but redeemed himself with his three-run double. In five games since his promotion, Contreras has shown plenty of good and bad in his baptism by fire.

“That felt better than even my first big-league hit,” said Contreras of his double, via team interpreter Franco Garcia.

Stat of the game

1-4 (The Braves are 1-4 in extra-inning contests this season after finally coming through Saturday.)


“We looked like ourselves tonight.” – manager Brian Snitker on the team’s comeback

Good to see you, Sheff

Former Braves outfielder Gary Sheffield and his travel ball team, the Florida Heat, attended the game. The Heat played in the Atlanta area this weekend. Sheffield spent two of his 22 seasons in Atlanta. He hit .319 with 64 homers and 216 RBIs across the 2002-03 seasons, earning one of his nine All-Star selections in the latter campaign.


Saturday was the Braves’ second game since Truist Park opened to full capacity. The announced attendance was 38,852.

Up next

The Braves and Phillies conclude their series Sunday night at 7:10 p.m. Huascar Ynoa (3-1, 2.36) will try to continue his strong start against Phillies ace Aaron Nola (3-1, 2.89).

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