The Braves lost to the Pirates 8-4 on Saturday at Truist Park, dropping them to 2-3 on the homestand.

Here are five observations:

1. It was a surprisingly chippy evening. To start the game, Pirates starter Johan Oviedo pitched inside to Ronald Acuña and the two exchanged words. The benches cleared but no one was ejected. Warnings were not issued.

Oviedo pitched Acuña inside again later. He hit Austin Riley with a pitch in the fourth that loaded the bases. Oviedo wasn’t ejected, leading Braves manager Brian Snitker to take the field. He was ejected by first-base umpire Bill Miller during his passionate rant. The Pirates removed Oviedo after the Riley hit by pitch.

“We just had a difference of opinion about things, pretty much,” Snitker said. He added Acuña was “absolutely” justified to be upset. Snitker praised how Acuña holds his composure in those situations, and said that was the “first time I’d ever seen him react like that.”

Acuña: “I think those are just things that are part of the game. Things that happen in the game, stay in the game. I think the adrenaline just peaked, benches cleared, but nothing happened.”

2. Left-hander Dylan Dodd started the game instead of Charlie Morton for the sake of extra rest. He lasted only four innings and one additional hitter, allowing four runs on seven hits. He also walked three.

But Dodd and Darius Vines, who pitched three innings, help the Braves immensely by covering those frames. Rookie Allan Winans will start Sunday and the Braves have a doubleheader Monday, so saving their bullpen was important.

3. The Braves retired legendary outfielder Andruw Jones’ No. 25 before the game. The No. 25 is the 12th number the Braves have retired. Jones, perhaps the best defensive center fielder in baseball history, hit .263 with a .839 OPS over 12 years for the franchise, winning 10 consecutive Gold Gloves.

“It blows my mind,” Jones said. “Just knowing the guys I’ve played with, and being next to Mr. Hank Aaron (in the rafters) is something I’ll never forget. It’s a great honor by the Atlanta Braves to give me an opportunity to play this game I love. And now honor me with a number retirement. It’s just one of those things you don’t think about when you play this game. You want to play this game, make a career and go out there and win a championship. You don’t think about some day your number will be retired. This is a great honor and I couldn’t be happier.”


4. Speaking with reporters during the fifth inning, Jones said after the Braves acquired first baseman Matt Olson, he felt the slugger would be the one to break his single-season franchise home run record of 51.

Two innings later, Olson mashed his 48th homer of the season. His major-league-leading total could soon overtake Jones for the franchise record. Olson needs four more home runs over the next 21 games. He’s two long balls away from only the second 50-homer campaign in Braves history.

“When we got Matt Olson, I told everybody that I think Matt Olson is going to hit 50 home runs,” Jones said. “He’s just got that swing. I’m (rooting) for him and hopefully he can break it.”

5. The Braves would’ve clinched a postseason berth with a victory. Their magic number to clinch the National League East remained eight after their loss and the Phillies’ victory over the Marlins.

This would be the Braves’ sixth consecutive postseason appearance. During the past five years, the Braves have two National League Championship Series appearances and a World Series championship in 2021.

Stat to know

2 -- Saturday marked Snitker’s second ejection of the season. He has 18 ejections in his career.


“I understand that pitchers want to pitch inside to me. But it’s easy, the adrenaline can spike, but it’s all just part of the game. Fortunately we were able to maintain our cool.” – Acuña

Up next

The Braves and Pirates finish their season series Sunday at 1:35 p.m. The Braves will start Winans (1-1, 5.17).

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