Travis d’Arnaud continued his tear at the plate. Charlie Morton had a bounce-back start. The Braves clinched a series win against the defending World Series champs with a 5-2 over the Rangers Saturday night at Truist Park.

Atlanta, which has won six in a row, improved to a major league-best record of 14-5.

Five observations on the game:

1. Rangers pitchers likely won’t have to face d’Arnaud again in the regular season. And they may be OK with that.

Heading into this weekend’s series at Truist Park, d’Arnaud did not have a home run this season. He finished Saturday’s game with four, second-most on the team behind Marcell Ozuna (eight).

The veteran catcher, who made his MLB debut in 2013, had a career night Friday, blasting three home runs, including a game-winning grand slam.

He wasn’t done there.

On Saturday, d’Arnaud hit an eighth-inning, two-run home run that came at an ideal time.

The Braves and Rangers hadn’t scored since the second inning and Atlanta had a narrow 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Orlando Arcia’s leadoff single set the table for d’Arnaud’s 422-foot shot off Texas reliver Austin Pruitt. The three-run lead was plenty for closer Raisel Iglesias, who delivered a three-up, three-down top of the ninth for his sixth save of the year.

“[For] a lot of guys here, home runs come in bunches,” d’Arnaud said. “The main thing is to keep it as simple as possible so I’m just going to stick with that.”

D’Arnaud went 4-for-5 with four home runs on Friday and Saturday. Prior to Saturday’s home run, d’Arnaud reached base three times after being walked twice and hit by a pitch.

“It’s just really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s not going to play [Sunday]. That’s great. It’s really nice swings too. He’s not overswinging. Chipper [Jones] always talked about guys playing at 85% and not 100 in the box. That’s kind of what [d’Arnaud] does. He has a big bat and kind of gets that thing going. That ball jumped again today.”

Sunday’s game will be a rest day for d’Arnaud, and Chadwick Tromp will catch for Starter Daruis Vines.

2. Morton, who pitched to d’Arnaud in his Saturday start, had a strong game. Similar to Chris Sale on Friday, Morton wanted to talk about d’Arnaud following Saturday’s game.

“Let’s talk about Travy,” Morton said. “I didn’t see his reaction after the grand slam [Friday]. The thing that struck me was after the second homer yesterday, it was perfect Travy. [It was] a beautiful swing. He hits it and knows it’s gone. He just looked at it, put the bat down and ran. It was just great. That’s just kind of him in a nutshell. I’m really happy for him. He also called a great game.”

In Morton’s last two starts, he allowed a combined 10 earned runs over 11 1/3 innings pitched. The veteran starter put together a solid performance in his win against the Rangers on Saturday.

Morton improved to 2-0 on the season after going six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Morton’s ERA is down to 4.70 after he entered the game with a 5.29 ERA.

“They put together some really good at-bats,” Morton said of the Rangers. “They hit a bunch of balls hard. Around the third or fourth we started to get into a little bit of a groove. We were mixing pretty well. They put a lot of balls in play but tonight we got a lot of ground balls. That’s a good team. It is nice to go out there and get through six and feel like I did OK.”

Morton retired 12 of the final 15 batters he faced after allowing two runs in the second.

“[D’Arnaud] has caught Charlie a lot,” Snitker said of his veteran battery. “They have been together a while so I think they know what each other is thinking.”

3. It hasn’t been a cakewalk for the Braves en route to a major league-best winning percentage of .737. This season, Atlanta has played the Diamondbacks, Rangers – both teams that were in last year’s World Series – and Astros, which have been in the ALCS seven years in a row. Atlanta is 8-0 against those teams.

“They’re really good teams,” Snitker said. “I kind of think we are too. Like [Saturday], that was about as clean of a game as you’d see. It was a really well-played ballgame by two really good teams. That’s good to come out and win series’ against clubs like that. That’s a good sign.”

4. Braves hitters had a tough task against Rangers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi, who was the winning pitcher in the decisive Game 5 of the World Series, entered the contest with a 1-1 record and ERA of 2.92.

The Braves got to Eovaldi in the bottom of the third with three runs on three hits. Luis Guillorme tallied an RBI double and Michael Harris II’s RBI single tied it. Matt Olson’s sacrifice fly turned out to be the game-winner.

Eovaldi went 51/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and he walked six.

5. On Friday, Marcell Ozuna extended his hit streak to a career-high 17 games. He had hit in 16 straight three times previously before breaking the threshold. But on Saturday, his streak ended as he went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Prior to Saturday, Ozuna’s streak was the longest by an active player in baseball.

Stat to know

89 -- Ronald Acuña recorded his 189th career stolen base, pulling him even with Rafael Furcal for the Atlanta Braves record.


“They kind of set the tone for this homestand. Two guys who want the ball for the last out of the World Series to start against the previous World Series champions. I think they were ready to go and that showed today and yesterday.” -- D’Arnaud on Braves starters Chris Sale and Charlie Morton in the first two games of the series

Up next

The Braves and Rangers finish the series Sunday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN.