But it was Acuña’s speed that was most captivating Sunday afternoon, rendering his recent ACL injury an afterthought. Acuña stole third for his fourth stolen base of the season, tied for the most among all Braves. An inning later, he blazed around the basepaths from first on a blooper to left field to score a run and pad the Braves’ lead.
Braves manager Brian Snitker credited Acuña’s presence and production as a major spark for the Braves’ offense against Milwaukee’s decorated pitching staff.
“That’s made a big difference, just having him cycle around as much as he does,” Snitker said. “He’s swinging the bat really well, too.”
2. Right-hander Charlie Morton followed up Max Fried’s gem on Saturday night with a standout performance of his own, throwing five shutout innings and earning his first win of the month. Morton tied his season high with five strikeouts and found his rhythm after losses in three of his last four starts. The Braves nearly recorded their third shutout of the season, but reliever Tyler Matzek endured another rough outing and surrendered two runs in the eighth inning.
Morton did not think any specific change was fully responsible for the bounceback start.
“It’s the culmination of a lot of things and just getting back on track,” Morton said. “Steps in the right direction, yeah, that’s a big deal, but I feel like today I felt into my delivery a bit better than I have been and saw some of the things I was hoping to see out of hitters.”
3. Since catcher Manny Piña moved to the injured list with a wrist injury, the Braves’ other catchers have responded. After Travis d’Arnaud went 2-for-4 with a home run and caught two Milwaukee base runners stealing Saturday, William Contreras had the best day of any member of the Braves’ lineup. Contreras headlined a strong day from the bottom of the Braves’ order, finishing with two walks, a three-run home run and a stolen base. Behind the plate, his cool composure helped Morton record his best start of the season and the Braves’ pitching staff finish the series with momentum.
“He did a good job with Charlie,” Snitker said. “It shows his maturity and how he’s calmed everything down.”
4. The Braves’ offense made plenty of plays throughout the series against the Brewers, but Atlanta also had Milwaukee’s defensive malaise to thank for its production. The Brewers had multiple errors in each of the three games at Truist Park, but their miscues Sunday proved especially costly. In the second inning, shortstop Willy Adames squandered a prime opportunity to catch Acuña running home with an off-the-mark throw. A wild pitch from Brewers starter Aaron Ashby with the bases loaded scored shortstop Dansby Swanson. The Braves made only two errors in the series, both of them in Friday’s loss.
5. Though Acuña couldn’t quite extend his homer streak, the Braves continued to hit the long ball Sunday. Center fielder Adam Duvall hit a solo shot 364 feet to right field in the third inning to pad the Braves’ lead, and Contreras blasted a three-run shot to left field in the fourth to blow open the game. Contreras’ homer, his third of the season, moved the Braves into a tie with Milwaukee for most home runs in the National League.
Duvall said the Braves’ identity isn’t fully formed yet, but he thinks the power bats will definitely factor in.
“I don’t feel like we’ve necessarily gotten rolling yet,” Duvall said of the Braves’ power. “There’s going to be more to come from that aspect, and that’s a big part of our identity. I think we’re going to tap into that.”
Stat to know
36 – Homers from Duvall and Contreras moved the Braves into a tie with the Brewers for most home runs in the NL.
“The kid plays with his hair on fire. I’ll be honest with you, I’m sitting there watching him and I’m not sure he’s not faster now than before he got hurt.” – Snitker on Acuña’s speed on the basepaths
The Braves are off Monday before a two-game series begins Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox. Right-hander Kyle Wright is slated to start against Boston’s Garrett Whitlock in the series opener.