1. After pulverizing the baseball, Vaughn Grissom flipped his bat with swagger, then walked a couple steps as he admired a shot that flew deep into the Boston night.
You could not have scripted this any better. It was a storybook moment, the one millions of kids past and present have dreamed about growing up playing Little League.
In his first big-league game, Grissom crushed a 412-foot, two-run home run in the seventh inning that gave the Braves a four-run lead. It left the bat at 101.7 mph. As Grissom rounded the bases, his teammates went crazy for him in the dugout.
And before that at-bat, Grissom’s competitive nature kicked in because his first two plate appearances didn’t go as he hoped.
“I’m not going to say I expected it, but like, we needed to do something,” he said of the homer. “I’m glad that one just carried out.”
The 21-year-old Grissom became the first Brave to homer in his debut since Austin Riley did so in 2019.
“Obviously you’re going to remember your first hit, your first home run, but then again, doing it at a place like this is really special,” Kyle Wright said. “He’s a great kid. He’s funny. He’s just got a good attitude, plays the game really hard.”
2. Grissom brought the expected energy during his debut.
“He just like was a kid out on the playground pretty much, just having a ball,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s genuine. I think that guy really likes to play baseball.”
After homering in the seventh, Grissom singled in the ninth. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, a stolen base and two runs scored.
Pretty good debut. And the fun began the first time he ran out onto a big-league field.
“That was crazy,” Grissom said. “I just took a second to myself to just really look at everything and process what was going on, and just do my best to just take a picture in my head. But you really don’t know until you actually do it. You can try to prepare yourself and all that, but it’s nothing like how you think it’s going to be.”
3. Marcell Ozuna had struggled mightily. He entered this game 0-for-his-last-20, then struck out looking in his first at-bat.
He has looked lost.
But in his next at-bat, Ozuna blasted a three-run shot off Boston’s Nick Pivetta to open the scoring in the fourth inning. The ball traveled 403 feet for Ozuna’s 20th home run of the season.
“Hopefully that’s something that gets him going,” Snitker said. “He’s been working and trying probably too hard. So that was big, what he did tonight. Hopefully that’s the start of something really good for him, because we know what he can do.”
Ozuna also lifted a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
His batting average had dipped below .215 and his OPS to around .650 entering this contest.
4. After a lengthy recovery following Tommy John surgery, Kirby Yates made his first appearance in a big-league game in almost two years.
“It’s like making a debut again, but I had probably way more emotion in this than I’ve ever had in a baseball game,” Yates said. “To be honest with you, I’m glad it’s over.”
Snitker summoned Yates in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs. Minutes before, Tommy Pham hit a three-run shot off Dylan Lee to cut the Braves’ lead to a run. Atlanta needed Yates to retire star shortstop Xander Bogaerts and send the game to the eighth with the lead intact.
Yates got Bogaerts to pop out to Grissom to end the inning.
This was Yates’ first major-league action since Aug. 14, 2020.
5. Wright bounced back nicely after a rough start against the Mets, tossing six innings of one-run baseball to keep Boston in check.
Wright allowed six hits and walked one batter, but struck out five. His ERA is 3.14. Wright leads the National League with 14 victories.
After Grissom’s homer, the Braves scored three more runs in the final two innings. They picked up two big victories to leave behind a tough series in New York.
“I did not think that this thing was going to be bump-free because we’ve been on a really good run, and we’re capable of more, but you’re going to have to get through those things,” Snitker said. “There’s going to be speed bumps and it’s not going to go as planned and you’re going to have to fight through some adversity the rest of the way. This thing’s hard and it’s a grind.”
Stat to know
1901 - Grissom is the first Braves player since at least 1901 to record a home run and a stolen base in his MLB debut.
“He was bouncing around out there. What a novel idea, having fun playing baseball. It was good. It was a great first night for him.” - Snitker on Grissom
The Braves are off on Thursday before beginning a series in Miami on Friday at 6:40 p.m.