The Braves come back with a home run to beat the Phillies and tie their National League Division Series
ATLANTA (AP) — Major League Baseball’s most potent offensive engine is finally turned on, perhaps just in time to save the Braves’ season.
Throw in a memorable double play to end the game courtesy of Michael Harris II’s great catch and Austin Riley’s crafty placement, and this 104-game winning team showed its postseason pedigree by rising from nowhere.
After going scoreless until the sixth inning, the Atlanta Braves came back in an improbable way to win 5-4 against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, thanks to two-run home runs by Travis d’Arnaud and Riley to pull the team within one win. National League Division Series.
“It was very emotional, especially the way we came back,” d’Arnaud said. “That was one of my favorite games of the postseason.”
D’Arnaud started at catcher in place of Sean Murphy, who was in a slump at the bat, and revived the Braves’ hopes with a drive into the left field seats in the seventh to bring Atlanta within 4-3.
It was Atlanta’s first extra-base hit in the series, setting a National League record for regular-season home runs with 307 and tying the major league record for the Minnesota Twins.
Riley hit the other home run off Jeff Hoffman (0-1) with two outs in the second to send the ball into the Phillies bullpen and give the Braves their first lead in the best-of-five series. Venezuelan Ronald Acuna Jr. scored first on a left-handed hit from Hoffman’s first pitch after coming out of the bullpen.
“I have confidence in the guys,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They make you fight for 27 outs. They’re never going to stop fighting in the batter’s box.”
The game also ended in incredible fashion. With Bryce Harper circulating, Nick Castellanos hit the fence in right field, but Harris jumped to catch the ball against the fence.
Harper had advanced to second when Harris II caught the ball. The Philadelphia star desperately tried to back off and Harris II’s infield throw pushed second baseman Ozzie Albies to third. Riley closed carefully and threw to first to complete a double play.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first regular season game in baseball history to end with a double play involving an outfielder.
Phillies manager Rob Thompson addressed Harper’s fundamental confusion.
“You don’t usually cross the basement,” Thompson said. “You stand in front of it and it assures you there was no catch, but it was convinced the ball hit him (Harris) and he couldn’t catch it. And Harris made a sensational catch. Unbelievable.”
Just like that, the series was tied. The third game is Wednesday in Philadelphia.
For the Phillies, Dominicans Cristian Pachy 2-0, Johan Rojas 3-0.
For the Braves, Acuna Jr. of Venezuela went 2-0 with two runs, Orlando Arcia 3-0. Dominican Marcel Ozuna 3-0. Puerto Rican Eddie Rosario is 2-0.