A huge rally for the eighth inning for the Braves was ultimately the difference in their opening game against Phyllis. Five runs for the Braves in the penultimate inning of this race were ultimately enough to give Atlanta a comfortable 9-5 victory over Philadelphia.
Things went well for Braves from the jump. Although we failed to win Ronald Akunya Jr. Leadof Homer, we got Austin Riley to cover Ozzy Albis when the latter was walking and the former scored a pair. Although he didn’t dig deeper with his first night bat, it didn’t take Acuña long to take off in this one. While the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers played nearby, Acuña tried his best to interrupt the game by firing an absolute ball into the second deck of Citizens Bank Park. The solo shot made Braves 2-0 and it seemed that Atlanta was really starting to take control of the game.
Luke Williams, even on the base tracks, was remarkable as the major league debutant received his first hit in his singles career. He finished in third base after the game was made because Drew Smilly made an absolutely terrifying defensive game of rebellion – instead of putting the ball in his pocket or even just letting Austin Riley put it in his pocket, Smiley tried to throw the ball in the first place and the result was, to put it mildly, disastrous. Segura’s RBI double ended Smyly’s night and you can easily say that this is another case of Brian Snitker leaving Smyly for too long – especially after Smyly hit to make the fifth inning.
The good news is that Edgar Santana cleared up the mess that Smiley left him in the fifth inning. The bad news is that Phyllis scored in their fourth consecutive inning in the sixth inning. In this shot, JT Realmuto welcomed Shane Green to the big with a home tie, and after Green left the game with two people at base, Brad Miller picked up a RBI-hit single from Tyler Matzek to give Philadelphia a first-place lead. Jean Segura took a double walk, but Matzek managed to limit the damage to only two tracks. However, this was definitely a drop in inning for the Brave, as they found themselves for the first time all night.
A fruitless seventh inning for both teams certainly felt like an omen that things would finally calm down. Fortunately for the Brave, things became noisy and wild for them at the beginning of the eighth inning. Austin Riley set the tone by quickly crushing a ball from Conor Brogden in the seats a few rows behind the 387 marker in the center right field. The only dinger tied things up, but the Braves didn’t end there.
After Dunsby Swanson walks in and Abraham Almonte makes it to base, Brogden takes his place and Sam Coonrod enters the game. William Contreras roughly greeted Coonrod in the game, hitting a single in the middle to make Atlanta 6-4 at this point. On the next attack, Coonrod tried to make Drew Smyly, when he had to make both dubious and bad defensive games like a pitcher – he tried to throw Contreras into second base, but dropped the ball in the center field. Almonte scored and soon after, Ronald Akunya headed to the plate to face Coonrod.
Earlier this season, Coonrod threw two pitches at Acuña, which were both high and inside. The second of these two pitches hit Acuña and took him out of the game and you can definitely argue that Coonrod took revenge after Acuña took him deep in April. Well, tonight was the night for Ronald Akunya to take revenge on himself and came in the form of a two-time, two-RBI single that put the Braves ahead with four tracks. It may not have been another dinger, but I’m sure the running results were right. had to feel really good about Akunya at this particular moment.
It also felt good for the entire Braves team, as the explosion of five runs in the eighth inning was ultimately the main turning point in the game. Will Smith took care of things in the ninth inning and Braves returned to .500. When they go out on the field tomorrow, they will again have the chance to reach the sunny side of .500 for the first time in the whole season. They had a few chances to break the .500 hump, so why not make tomorrow the day it finally happens, right?