SEATTLE — The Braves suffered a gut-wrenching 8-7 loss on Sunday to the Mariners that pushed them to 1 ½ games behind the Mets.

Here are five observations on Atlanta (87-53):

1. In a matter of minutes and with two cracks of the bat, each eliciting a roar from a sellout crowd at T-Mobile Park, a contender for the best win of the season turned into a front-runner for the most stunning loss.

As the Mariners gathered around home plate to await one of their two ninth-inning heroes, Kenley Jansen slowly walked off the mound. Pandemonium raged around him at the ballpark. The home nine had just stolen a win from the defending champions, who had stunned Seattle right before that.

“This is a game that you feel like, deep down, it hurts because you feel like the offense definitely battled through it all the way to the end,” said Jansen, who had just suffered what might be the worst of his seven blown saves this season.

Jansen took the mound moments after a miraculous comeback. Had he earned three outs, this might have been the win that defined the Braves and their fight – an encapsulation of everything about this club’s winning ways. Instead, Jansen allowed two home runs: Julio Rodríguez’s one-out solo blast tied the game, then Eugenio Suárez’s walk-off shot with two outs sent this place into a frenzy.

All of this undid the unbelievable: With his team down to its final strike, Michael Harris launched a three-run homer. After Eddie Rosario’s single, Robbie Grossman sent a two-run blast over the right-field wall to give Atlanta a one-run lead.

The Braves saw that lead evaporate and turn into a loss.

“We had the potential to have probably one of our biggest wins of the year,” manager Brian Snitker said. “But, you know, they’re good, too.”

2. Jansen has blown three of his last seven save opportunities. He said he missed the location on the two home-run pitches.

“Stuff like that happens,” Jansen said. “You can call it whatever, you can call it unlucky, whatever. I can’t let this bother me, man. I’ve been through this situation so many times. It could look ugly right now for all you guys, but I know who I am deep inside.

“Nothing bothers me in this game. I’ve been through plenty. One thing I’m going to tell you that’s not going to happen is that this is going to take my confidence away.”

Snitker defended Jansen, pointing to the fact that, before Sunday, the closer had converted four of five save opportunities since a blown save Aug. 27.

Asked if he would consider using Raisel Iglesias, a closer acquired at the deadline, in save situations, Snitker said: “Kenley had (four) out of the last five saves. He’s done really good. He’s leading the National League in saves. He had a bad day today.”

Jansen leads the NL with 33 saves but has allowed seven runs over his last seven appearances. Since the start of August, Jansen has four clean innings in 15 outings.

“Just keep battling, man,” he said. “Nothing you can do about it. Make two pitches that I didn’t make, you know, and eventually it hurts. You just got to continue to stay positive.”

3. There is a clear positive for the Braves.

Out of nowhere, they scored five two-out runs in the ninth. Harris homered off Diego Castillo, and Grossman hit one off closer Paul Sewald.

The Braves looked lifeless before that.

“I think our offense has shown they can do that against just about anybody,” starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi said. “To do it in the ninth inning on the road, against a playoff-caliber team, I think it says a lot for them and how they grind at-bats out and then getting the big hit when you need it as well.”

4. Harris is gaining a reputation for being clutch.

Of his 18 home runs, eight have come in innings seven through nine. He has three ninth-inning homers.

“Through my whole life, just playing the game for so long, playing with some of the better teams and bigger situations, I just feel like it’s been through my whole life I just learned to really just calm myself down or stay myself and don’t try to do too much in those big moments,” Harris said.

5. Odorizzi allowed four runs on five hits over 3 ⅔ innings. He walked three batters.

Odorizzi was not happy with his ball-strike percentage. He threw 39 strikes and 32 balls. He felt good physically in his return from arm fatigue.

Mariners 8, Braves 7 (box score)

Stat to know

3 – Three players in Sunday’s game – Harris, Rodríguez and Suárez – notched multi-homer games.


“(Kenley) is great. They just put good swings on good pitches. They’ve been hitting all week, and I guess today they just outscored us with the long ball. Tough loss. Nothing to hang our heads about. We just couldn’t come out with the win.”– Harris on Jansen and the loss

Up next

The Braves begin a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday. Spencer Strider will face Giants right-hander Alex Cobb, with first pitch coming at 9:45 p.m. ET.