Braves shock Phillies with a rally led by Austin Riley’s home run.
ATLANTA– When the Braves revived their World Series goals by putting together an unbelievable finish to their 5-4 victory over the Phillies in Game 2 on Monday night, all of the irritation and confusion that had developed during the first 14 innings of the National League Division Series vanished.
Especially the way we came back, it was emotional, Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. So, that was among my all-time favorite postseason games.
After experiencing an emotional roller coaster, many Braves fans likely shared the same opinion. The sense of powerlessness from Game 1’s shutout loss on Saturday carried over into Game 2, as Zack Wheeler held Atlanta without a hit through the first 5 2/3 innings. Philadelphia, however, got rid of Max Fried after four innings and went into the sixth inning with a four-run advantage.
But the Braves proved to the baseball world that they still possess a very powerful offense right when it appeared that the Phillies could head home with a 2-0 lead in this best-of-five series. Teams that lost the first two games at home are given hope by the comeback. Only two (16%) of the 16 teams who lost Games 1 and 2 at home went on to win the championship this Division Series format.
In the sixth, Ronald Acua Jr. scored a run using his speed, and in the seventh, Travis d’Arnaud chased Wheeler with a two-run home run. All of this prepared the ground for Austin Riley to hit the winning home run in the eighth inning with two outs.
It was the third time in a postseason game when a Braves player hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later. The other players to do this were Eric Hinske in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS versus the Giants and Michael Tucker in Game 5 of the 1998 NL Championship Series against the Padres.
Riley remarked, “You just want to soak those moments up. “The playoffs are unique. Baseball is fantastic, and this time of year is fantastic.
The amazing finish added to how spectacular this comeback was. With Bryce Harper on first base and one out in the ninth, there was reason to wonder if Nick Castellanos would smash a go-ahead home run when his line shot sailed toward the right-center field fence. However, center fielder Michael Harris II intercepted the long drive as it slammed into the wall. He then swiftly flung the ball back toward the infield, where an alert Riley quickly picked up the errant ball and threw to first baseman Matt Olson in time to beat Harper to the bag.
Legendary Braves player Dale Murphy remarked, “I was thinking double play,” as he left the ballpark through the tunnel. I simply wasn’t considering a double play in that manner.
It had an original ending. However, the Braves were accustomed to comebacks after ranking second in MLB in 2023 with 12 victories when trailing after seven innings of play. Their biggest comeback triumph in a playoff game was Monday’s 5-4 victory. Also, in their 5-4 victory over the Giants in Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS, they were down by four runs after five innings.
Some others wondered if the Braves, who have arguably had one of the best teams in franchise history, may be headed for an embarrassing and quick finish to their season in the wake of Wheeler’s dominance. With a.501 slugging percentage and 307 home runs, this 104-win Atlanta squad tied an MLB record and set an AL/NL record.
But it wasn’t until d’Arnaud blasted Wheeler’s slider over the left-field wall with one out in the seventh that the Braves managed an extra-base hit. The veteran’s two-run blast was his 10th postseason home run overall. The two catchers with more are Jorge Posada and Johnny Bench, who each had 11 hits.
Because he gets along well with Fried, d’Arnaud was behind the plate. However, he also had a record of 8 for 21 with a home run and a double versus Wheeler, a former teammate of his when they played for the Mets.
In this year’s MVP voting, Acua, Riley, Olson, Marcell Ozuna, and Ozzie Albies all merited varying degrees of consideration. However, the final four innings of this most recent comeback once more demonstrated that the only player in this fantastic lineup to have a season with 40 home runs and 70 steals was the sparkplug.
“Ronnie Acua re-engaged the crowd. I believe that was the most important factor, d’Arnaud stated.
In the sixth inning, against Wheeler, Acua drew a two-out walk and then took off running as Albies broke up a no-hit attempt with a precise single to right field. When Trea Turner was unable to catch Castellanos’ throw to the infield, Acua sprinted for third, rounded the bag, and then sprinted to the plate.
Brian Snitker, manager of the Braves, stated, “He didn’t put his head down.” When they slightly wobbled, “he stayed alert, watched the ball, and got a great jump.”
The atmosphere was altered by the ensuing roar of the audience, and this one piece altered the course of the entire series. In the seventh, d’Arnaud sparked even more excitement, and Riley’s game-winning home run in the eighth brought the house down.
Fried remarked, “You knew it was only a matter of time.” “We’ve been too successful and hazardous to stay in it. Have we ever?