The Braves hope they’re not playing in the Wild Card series, but if they are, there’s a good chance they’ll be hosting the Phillies. That makes this weekend at Truist Park a potential preview, and Friday didn’t disappoint.

Ronald Acuna’s blast sparked the Braves’ six-run eighth in a 7-2 win over the Phillies. The Braves kept pace with the Mets, who beat the Pirates, and remain one game behind New York in the National League East.

Here are five takeaways from Friday:

1. With the Braves’ mostly bats scuffling for seven innings, Ronald Acuna played hero. He smacked a 383-foot two-run homer off Seranthony Dominguez to flip a one-run deficit into a one-run advantage.

“That’s the thing I love most about playing my best, the fans and their reaction, I feel like it’s really a motivator,” Acuna said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “Your play on the field can garner that kind of reaction from fans, to me that’s the best.”

The Braves continued from there. William Contreras and Michael Harris had RBI singles. Ozzie Albies, in his return from a fractured foot that cost him half the season, drove in two more with a double. On a night the offense appeared to be sleepwalking, it awoke at the perfect time.

2. Contreras, who had three hits as the designated hitter, belted his first homer since Aug. 24, a solo shot off Ranger Suarez in the fourth. In his last 28 games entering Friday – dating back to Aug. 2 – Contreras was hitting .293 with a .798 OPS. He has 18 homers in 80 games.

Regarding how he’s grown in the last year, Contreras said (via Garcia): “Calmness, confidence, experience. I think a year ago, I went out with a different attitude. Now I’m going out there enjoying myself and having fun. It’s just totally different.”

3. Albies was sidelined for three months, an absence spanning 81 games. He manned second base and hit eighth, going 1-for-4 with two RBIs. The fans at Truist Park gave Albies a standing ovation before his first at-bat.

“It was really nice (to see the ovation),” manager Brian Snitker said. “Ozzie has meant a lot to this place here, our organization, our team. He’s been instrumental in a lot of really good things that’ve happened here the last five or six years. Fans appreciate the way that kid plays.”

Snitker added, regarding Albies’ double: “There’s nothing better than watching Ozzie’s helmet fly off when he dives into a base.”

Braves starting pitcher Max Fried reacts after giving up a solo home run against Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Jean Segura (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Truist Park, Friday, September 16, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /

4. Max Fried allowed two solo homers but kept the Braves within striking distance. Kyle Schwarber hit his National League-leading 39th bomb when he scooped a middle-low fastball. Jean Segura gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead when he blasted a high fastball into left center.

Fried otherwise managed well, including escaping two-on, two-out danger in the fifth by striking out Schwarber. He allowed two runs on four hits over six innings. “It could’ve been a little bit better,” Fried said. “Just keeping us in the game was where I was at. The guys came (through) in that eighth inning huge.”

5. The Braves have only division opponents remaining over their final 18 contests, with six of their next nine against the Phillies. Their quest to catch the Mets in the NL East will come down to how they fare against the division itself. The Braves are 36-22 against NL East opponents this season. They’ve accumulated 45 or more divisional wins in three of the last four seasons (the exception being the truncated 2020 campaign).

The most anticipated series: The Mets come to Atlanta for a three-game series Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Stat to know

89 (The Braves’ win Friday was their 89th, moving them past their 2021 victory total.)


“I was talking to (Chairman) Terry (McGuirk) and I said, early on the in game, that’s Friday night football (because the crowd appeared smaller). Next thing I know, I looked up and the place was packed. I guess they had a hard time getting in. These are big games, it’s great. There’s a lot of energy. It’s a great atmosphere.” - Snitker

Up next

The Braves and Phillies face off again Saturday at 7:20 p.m. when Spencer Strider (10-5, 2.72) faces lefty Bailey Falter (5-3, 3.80).