ATLANTA — The Braves restored their World Series hopes with an incredible 5-4 win over the Phillies in Game 2 on Monday, all the frustration of the first 14 innings of the National League Division Series. and confusion disappeared. night.
“It’s really exciting, especially the way we came back,” Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “So this is one of my favorite playoff games.”
Countless Warriors fans may be feeling the same way after going through an emotional roller coaster. The helplessness from Game 1 on Saturday carried over into Game 2, as Zach Wheeler held Atlanta hitless through the first 5 2/3 innings. Philadelphia, meanwhile, chased Max Fried after four innings and held a four-run lead in the sixth.
But just when the Phillies might be heading home with a 2-0 lead in this best-of-five series, the Braves showed baseball they still have an incredibly potent offense. This reversal brings hope to a team that lost its previous two games at home. Of the 16 clubs that lost Games 1 and 2 at home, only two (13%) ended up advancing in the Division Series.
Ronald Acuña Jr. drove in a run in the sixth inning, and Travis d’Arnaud drove in two runs in the seventh. The home run chased Wheeler. All of which set the stage for Austin Riley to hit a go-ahead home run with two outs in the eighth inning.
It was the third time a Braves player hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later in the postseason. Other players to do so include Michael Tucker in Game 5 of the 1998 NL Championship Series against the Padres and Eric Hinske in Game 3 of the 2010 NL Championship Series against the Giants ( Eric Hinske).
“You just try to capture those moments,” Riley said. “The playoffs are special. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it’s great baseball.”
The incredible ending adds to the excitement of this return. When Nick Castellanos’ line drive sailed toward the right-center field fence with nine out and Bryce Harper on first base, we had reason to wonder if he Hit the leadoff home run. But center fielder Michael Harris II caught the long drive as it hit the wall. He then quickly fired the ball toward the infield, where an alert Riley grabbed the loose ball and passed it to a Baserunner Matt Olson, beat Harper back to the bag.
“I’m thinking doubles,” Warriors legend Dale Murphy said as he walked through the stadium tunnel. “I just never thought about doubles That Way. “
The ending is unique. But the comeback feels familiar for the Braves, who ranked second among MLB teams with 12 wins after falling behind seven innings in the 2023 regular season. Monday’s 5-4 victory tied their biggest comeback win in the playoffs. In Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS, they defeated the Giants 5-4, trailing by 4 runs in 5 innings.
“I thought this was the perfect way to draw it,” Harris said. “It was pretty much a quiet game the whole game for us.”
Wheeler’s dominance raised some questions as to whether a franchise considered one of the best in Warriors history might be headed for an embarrassing and short-lived end to the season. The 104-win Atlanta team set an AL/NL record with a .501 slugging percentage and tied an MLB record with 307 home runs.
However, the Braves didn’t get an extra-base hit until d’Arnaud drove Wheeler’s slider over the left-field wall in the seventh inning. The two-run hit was the veteran’s 10th career postseason home run. Johnny Bench and Jorge Posada, with 11 runs apiece, were the only receivers with more than 11 runs.
d’Arnaud is in the lead because he works well with Fried. But he also went 8-for-21 in this game with a home run and a double against Wheeler, his former battery partner from his days with the Mets.
Acuña, Riley, Olsen, Marcell Ozuna and Ozzie Albies have all received varying degrees of attention in this year’s MVP voting. But the final four innings of this latest comeback proved once again that the spark of this great lineup is the only one to have a 40-homer, 70-interception season.
“Ronnie (Acuña) brought the crowd back into the scene. I think that’s the most important thing,” Dano said. “Getting the crowd back together gives us the momentum again.”
Acuña drew a two-out walk in the sixth inning with Wheeler, then got going when Albies ended the no-hitter bid with a sharp single to right field. Acuña sprinted to third, rounded the bag, then climbed to the plate when Trea Turner couldn’t catch Castellanos’ pitch to the infield.
“He didn’t put his head down,” Warriors manager Brian Snitker said. “He stays alert, watches the ball, and when it shakes a little bit, he jumps really well.”
The resulting cheers from the crowd changed the atmosphere, and the entire trajectory of the series was altered by the scene. Danault further inflamed the crowd in the seventh inning, and Riley shut down the game with a game-winning home run in the eighth.
“You knew it was just a matter of time,” Fried said. “We were too good and too dangerous to get out of this mess. Did we ever?