PHILADELPHIA – Last offseason, the Phillies rivaled anyone in terms of how many splashes they made. Off a World Series trip, they spent a lot of money to sign shortstop Trea Turner and made other moves as they looked to position themselves to win the division.

And now, with weeks to go in the regular season, the Braves could clinch a sixth straight National League East title at Citizens Bank Park if they win on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Atlanta positioned itself for this by splitting Monday’s doubleheader. The magic number is down to four.

The Braves won the first game 10-8 in 10 innings. They lost the second one 7-5.

Five observations from the day:

1. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in the first game, Ozzie Albies fielded what looked to be the final out, then yanked the throw to Matt Olson. On the next pitch, Raisel Iglesias hung a changeup and Bryce Harper launched it into the seats in left-center field.

Tie game.

The Braves had led at different points, but none of it mattered. The Phillies had life. And in this moment, the Braves could’ve been rattled.


“We’re really good on being able to turn the page, whether it’s from game to game or inning to inning, or mistake to mistake,” Kevin Pillar said. “I think that’s the only thing you can really do in this game is turn the page real quick.”

After not taking an at-bat since August 30 in Colorado, Pillar – a pillar of professionalism for how he stays ready – led off the 10th inning by putting a run-scoring single into center field to give the Braves the lead. Two batters later, Orlando Arcia, facing an 0-2 count, doubled home Pillar.

In the bottom of the 10th, Kirby Yates closed it out.

“They just came roaring back,” Snitker said of his players.

He soon added: “Some good at-bats. Just grinded – grinded – through this game.”

2. Moments after Matt Olson detonated his MLB-leading 50th home run of the season, Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber successfully got the special ball from a fan.

“Respect that from him,” Olson said.

At this point, Olson probably has many momentous baseballs. His first hit. His first home run. And on and on.

They are, well, everywhere.

“Some of ‘em are scattered around,” he said. “I need to find something good to do with them.”

He better think quickly. He might have more soon.

In the second game, Olson blasted home runs 49 and 50. When he hits another, he’ll tie Andruw Jones for the franchise record. (Jones hit 51 homers in 2005.)

The Braves fell behind 4-0 early in Monday’s nightcap. Olson’s first of two homers off Michael Lorenzen – a three-run shot in the third inning – brought them within a run. His second blast, a sixth-inning solo shot, trimmed the deficit to three runs after the Phillies had continued scoring.

This was Olson’s eighth multi-homer game of the season, 21st of his career. It shouldn’t be surprising that it happened at this place: In 16 starts at Citizens Bank Park, he has 10 home runs and 18 RBIs.

He could soon be in the record books for the team he rooted for as a kid.

“Yeah, it’d be nice,” Olson said. “You’d be lying if you say you don’t want it. It’s not the priority, but yeah, it’d be cool.”

3. After his first big-league start since May, Kyle Wright’s tone seemed to say this: If nothing else, at least he made his return and felt healthy.

“I guess that’s the one underlying positive is that I felt good again,” Wright said. “Haven’t had that feeling in a long time.”

The results weren’t what he wanted.

To begin this outing, Wright immediately loaded the bases in the second game. Nine Phillies eventually went to the plate. Four scored.

Wright looked, well, rusty.

After all, he’d only made three rehab starts before this outing. It showed.

The positive is this: Wright recovered well. He posted zeroes in the second and third innings before being charged with two more runs in the fourth.

His final line: Six runs on six hits over three innings. He struck out three batters and walked two. He hit another. He threw 62 pitches.

“I was encouraged,” Snitker said. “You bring him off rehab and you put him in that first inning, in a situation like this – this team’s every bit as powerful as we are. I really liked how he settled in and threw the ball pretty well.”

4. Other highlights from the day:

Michael Harris II launched one homer in each game. He has 16 this season.

In the first contest, Ronald Acuña Jr. pulverized his 36th home run, and stole his 65th base. He’s adding to his historical season as he chases the National League MVP Award.

Three batters into the doubleheader, Austin Riley hit a Little League home run, aided by an error from the left fielder. Still, Riley turned on the jets and kept the wheels turning.

5. The Braves are 6-2 in doubleheader games this season.

Before the Game 2 loss, they had won six consecutive doubleheader games over the Phillies, dating to 2014. All six had come in Philadelphia.

Stat to know

14 - Olson has 50 homers and 127 RBIs this season. He’s the 14th player to have totaled these numbers since 1995. It’s happened 20 times.


“What an unbelievable year he’s had. Gonna probably set organizational records and all that. I’m happy for him. He’s putting together some kind of great year. It couldn’t happen to a better person.”-Snitker on Olson

Up next

On Tuesday, Braves ace Max Fried will face Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler in a game that begins at 6:40 p.m.