1. The Braves trailed by a run in the eighth inning. They were down to their final five outs. They were staring at a third consecutive series loss.
This was perfect for Albies.
“I actually want to be in those spots,” he later said. “It’s fun when you can help the team with something to win the game and score runs. So to me, it’s exciting when you get in those big spots.”
With one swing, Albies changed the narrative as he hammered an opposite-field, three-run home run off Elvis Peguero that flew 407 feet.
The Braves instead won a series against another first-place team. This dramatic victory will feel good as they head into the off day before a two-game series versus the Red Sox.
“He’s got a slow heartbeat in him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He doesn’t panic or anything. He stays with his approach. Even last night, you expected him to pierce a gap in that game. He’s another one that’s been through all the moments. There’s nothing that he’s going to experience that’s going to be too big, more than he’s ever experienced.”
This was sweet redemption for Albies, who struck out with the bases loaded to end Saturday’s game.
He was ready for another opportunity.
“Oh yes,” he said. “One-hundred percent. I ended up making the third out last night, but today I stepped up for my team.”
2. Daysbel Hernandez on Sunday morning reported to American Family Field. Hours later, he found himself in an important spot.
He entered the game in the seventh inning, with the Braves trailing by a run. He had to keep it there, and did.
He struck out three batters to work around a one-out single.
“I just remember a couple years ago in spring training, it was real,” Snitker said. “If he hadn’t gotten hurt, he’d probably have been a big part of this bullpen already.”
This outing was true to his reputation: Before Atlanta called him up, he’d struck out 17 of the last 23 batters he’d faced between Double A and Triple A. Hernandez underwent Tommy John surgery in 2022, but is making up for it now.
3. After two rough starts, Bryce Elder gave up two runs over six innings to keep Atlanta in the game.
Something he did in the days leading up to this start: Be more intentional with his routine.
“You work for a long time having a routine and trusting a routine,” he said. “And I think routines are great – until they kind of get like you’re doing stuff just because that’s your routine, and I think I kind of got like that the past few weeks. It was almost more – I don’t want to call it superstition, but it was just like, ‘Oh, I’m doing this because that’s what I’ve been doing.’ But this week, I did stay on the routine, but worked with a little more intent and kind of understood why I was doing each thing and kind of went back down and got really simple, and it worked out.”
He focused on each day, and not the next one. He continued working.
Elder said his stuff wasn’t great on Sunday. Still, he found a way to turn in a quality start.
4. When they stepped into the batter’s box, the Braves saw a familiar face: Julio Teheran, who pitched nine seasons for Atlanta.
In his first start against the Braves, he held his former team to a run over six innings. He had five strikeouts and no walks.
“He’s still going, man,” Snitker said. “He moves that ball around, knows what he’s doing. Good for him. Julio’s a great guy. He did a lot of great things for our organization, so I’m glad he’s still pitching and having success.”
5. One fun fact: In 2021, Elder and Hernandez combined for a no-hitter with Double-A Mississippi. Elder threw the first seven innings and Hernandez tossed the last two against Pensacola.
Would Hernandez have been in the majors sooner if not for Tommy John surgery?
“Yeah,” Elder said. “One-hundred percent. … Because in ‘21, it was impressive. It still is, but seeing it then was very impressive.”
Stat to know
9 - The Braves’ nine wins when trailing in the eighth inning are tied with San Francisco for the most in the majors. But the Giants are 9-42 in those games and the Braves are 9-27, so Atlanta has the best winning percentage in such situations.
“They don’t panic. This team’s been through everything you can go through, on the biggest stages, so I don’t think there’s ever any panic in any of those guys out there.” - Snitker on why his team is so good at coming back from deficits
After Monday’s off day, Charlie Morton will start Tuesday’s series opener at Fenway Park. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.