The Braves opened a nine-game homestand Friday by welcoming the defending-champion Rangers to Atlanta. What a show for the sellout crowd: The Braves mashed their way to an 8-3 win, their fifth straight.

Here are five observations:

1. Let April 19, 2024, at Truist Park be known as the “Travis d’Arnaud game.” The Braves’ catcher launched three home runs after entering the day with zero. After two long balls off Andrew Heaney, he saved his best for last: d’Arnaud blasted a two-out grand slam off lefty Jacob Latz in the sixth that broke a 3-3 tie.

“I felt like I was 115 pounds running the bases,” d’Arnaud said. “I was trying to hold in my smile a little bit until I hit home plate. It’s surreal. I hope every baseball player gets to feel that.”

This was d’Arnaud’s eighth career multi-homer game and the second time he’s hit three homers in one. He also achieved it on July 15, 2019, with Tampa Bay (“It was cool to do it at home for this one,” d’Arnaud said). This marked his third career grand slam.

Additionally, d’Arnaud is the first Braves catcher with a three-homer game since Dale Murphy on May 18, 1979. He’s the fourth Atlanta Braves catcher to have a three-homer showing, joining Gene Oliver (1966), Bob Tillman (1969) and Murphy.

“It’s one of those nights you dream about having, so I’m happy for him,” manager Brian Snitker said.

2. D’Arnaud joined Bryce Harper and former Braves farmhand Shea Langeliers as the only players with three-homer performances this season.

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” d’Arnaud said.

Most teams would struggle mightily to replace losing an All-Star backstop like Sean Murphy, but the Braves have the luxury of another All-Star catcher in d’Arnaud and that is preventing them from suffering instability at such an important position.

“For it to be your catcher, that always makes it more special,” starter Chris Sale said. “He’s obviously working his butt off behind the plate, calling a great game, mixing in and out with the game plan. For him to go on the other side of the ball and do what he did, nothing short of electric. Legendary. Awesome. Fun to be a part of.

“You felt it tonight in that stadium. The energy was wild. It was unbelievable. It was a fun game to be a part of.”

Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud celebrates his home run in the dugout during the fifth inning. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz /

icon to expand image

Credit: Jason Getz /

3. Truist Park witness Braves history. Here are the individuals who’ve hit three home runs in a single game since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966:

Oliver (1966); Tillman (1969); Rico Carty (1970); Mike Lum (1970); Orlando Cepeda (1970); Murphy (1979); Bob Horner (4 homers; 1986); Ken Griffey (1986); Jeff Treadway (1990); Jeff Blauser (1992); Andruw Jones (2002); Chipper Jones (2006); Mark Teixeira (2008); Matt Kemp (2017); Marcell Ozuna (2020); Adam Duvall (twice in 2020; Duvall is the only other player to hit a grand slam in his three-homer outing)

4. It’s increasingly apparent why the Braves wanted Sale. He still shows plenty of signs he can be his old self, even after injuries have robbed him of much of the past four seasons.

Coming off a rough start in Miami (in which he still covered seven innings), Sale was mostly solid against the Rangers. He surrendered a lead-off homer to nemesis Marcus Semien, who’s long had success off the southpaw, but retired 15 of the next 17 Rangers.

Semien, though reached on an infield single to lead off the sixth. An out later, Wyatt Langford singled to center. Adolis Garcia’s double scored two runs to tie the game at three. Sale remained in the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 frame to conclude his outing.

“He’s been really efficient,” Snitker said. “He’s felt good. That’s why we got him. I think they looked at what he did last year, how he finished, his health and everything. He takes good care of himself, too.”

5. Sale generated 12 swings and misses. He topped out at 96.6 mph. He had 18 pitches register at 95 mph or above. The Rangers whiffed on 40% of their swings on his slider (eight of 20).

The Braves’ rotation will be fascinating to follow in the summer months. Sale is already bearing a heavy workload, somewhat a surprise given he’d thrown only 151 innings across the past four years due to injury. Reynaldo Lopez, a converted reliever, has been brilliant thus far, but that’s another situation where the team could need to dial back his innings at some point.

Stat to know

1,312 - The combined feet of d’Arnaud’s three homers.


“To be honest, nobody cares (about my performance). We’re here to talk about one thing and one thing only. No one cares about the pitching. No one cares about the fan beating the Freeze (or) who was eating a hot dog (on the big screen). Tonight was about Travis and that was nothing short of electric.” – Sale

Up next

Charlie Morton (1-0, 5.29) faces Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 2.92) Saturday in the middle contest of this three-game series.