The Braves started the game 0-9 with runners in scoring position.
They experienced one of their biggest defensive blunders in recent memory.
Chris Martin allowed multiple runs.
Thanos emerged from a portal in center field (supposedly).
And yet, the Braves still emerged victorious, in the most wonderful way possible.
The game started out quite well. With a 3-1 count, Ronald Acuna Jr. connected for a 495-foot home run, the longest in the majors this season. Though some long balls are literally launched, THIS ONE WAS LAUNCHED. Despite a Marcell Ozuna double, the Braves were unable to add more to their lead, which was 1-0 at the end of the first.
After that, it was the Kyle Wright show. After a perfect first inning, Wright decided he liked what he saw. He made it through the first four innings perfect while striking out four Boston hitters. Wright seemed to pick up right where he left off after his dominant performance against the Mets.
Meanwhile, the Braves offense continued their struggles from the previous night, as they squandered chances to add to their lead in the third and the fourth innings. In the top of the fifth, Wright started to struggle. He gave up a game tying home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a single to Kevin Plawecki. Fortunately, he then recorded three straight outs to keep the score tied at one.
This seemed to be a moment of maturation and progression for Wright, who many times in the past let his first struggles in the game get the best of him and derail his efforts. This time, he regained his composure, got back on track, and did not allow any more damage.
Both teams remained quiet in the sixth inning, and Wright, for his third straight start, completed six innings, a major achievement for a Braves pitcher this season. He remained in the game for the seventh, and produced a big first out by retiring J.D. Martinez. However, his control issues reemerged, as Wright walked three straight batters to load the bases with one out. The Red Sox were looking to be aggressive, as they brought in slugger Rafael Devers to pinch hit. Though it seemed the Braves might remove Wright, they left him in the game. Devers hit a sharp grounder to the right side, but an amazing stop by Austin Riley produced the second out. Though a run did score, Darren O’Day replaced Wright and retired Michael Chavis to end the inning and keep the score 2-1.
On the evening, Wright pitched 6 2⁄3 innings, allowing two hits, three walks, and a home run while striking out four batters. He only threw 79 pitches, which included his wild streak in the seventh inning. Though he struggled at the end, it was definitely an encouraging night for Wright, and one in which he was able to fight through adversity and find success multiple times. Though there may be more sensible options, Wright’s success over the past two weeks likely has made him an option when the Braves need a third or fourth starter in October.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Braves decided imitation was the best form of flattery. They too loaded the bases with two hit batsman and a walk. Unfortunately, Atlanta could not find any success. Dansby Swanson looked lost at the plate on a swinging strikeout, while Riley had the favor returned to him, as Bobby Dalbec made a great stop at first to prevent Riley from getting a hit and retired the side in the process. The Braves were now 0-8 with runners in scoring position.
Yet, one trait about featuring arguably the best offense in the majors is that it is very likely you will not go too long without cashing in opportunities.
As they had done in the previous inning, the Braves loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. Ozzie Albies looked at three straight balls to begin his at-bat, but then missed on a good pitch to pop out for the second out. However, Ozuna was not ready for the Braves to go 0-10 with RISP on the evening, as he sent a single into center that scored two runs to give the Braves a 3-2 lead and once again answered the call when it was needed most. A bad throw by Devers allowed Atlanta to make the score 4-2 as they headed into the top of the ninth inning.
As has been mentioned, the Braves are undefeated this season when they lead after seven innings. However, that streak was not going to be an easy task to keep going. After two singles and a walk by the Red Sox off of Mark Melancon, Devers weakly grounded to Adeiny Hechavarria in what looked like the second out of the inning. However, Hechavarria slipped, and for some reason tried to make the throw. The end result was a ball sailing in the Braves dugout, and the Red Sox tying the game at four. Melancon worked around the error, forcing a fielder’s choice as a runner was thrown out at home then forced Alex Verdugo to end the inning on a ground out.
The fireworks were just beginning.
In the bottom of the ninth, after two quick outs, pinch hitters Freddie Freeman and Travis d’Arnaud were walked. Unfortunately, Devers was playing the line and made a good play on a hard hit grounder off the bat of Acuna Jr. to end the threat. In the top of the tenth, with the runner on second to start the inning, Chris Martin got two quick outs along with an intentional walk to Martinez. However, Martin then allowed two straight singles to Plawecki and Dalbec to make the score 6-4 before retiring Devers on a line out.
However, the Braves were not done.
Albies singled home Acuna Jr. to begin the inning, and after a Ozuna strike out and Adam Duvall pop out, Swanson, who previously had missed out on producing big hits in his previous two at-bats, almost ended the game but did produce the tying score with a long double to right center. The Braves tied the score at six through ten innings.
The Red Sox relied on a bit of small ball in the eleventh, as a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly allowed them to regain the lead at 7-6 before Shane Greene closed the door to end the top half of the inning.
Then, MVFREE SAID ENOUGH……
On a 1-0 count, Freeman sent a game winning, two-run, walk-off home run to end the game with a Braves victory, 8-7.
In a game that saw the offense struggle and had a batch of blunders, the Braves still prevailed on a night that could be quite memorable for many. Wright’s third straight strong start certainly puts him into the postseason conversation of arms to rely on, the Braves are the second best team in the National League, and Freeman should have ended any further debate as to who the National League MVP should be.
What a night and what a victory!!!!
Enjoy a great start to your weekend folks!