The Atlanta Braves, the Long Ball, and a Long Night

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 18: Tyler Matzek #68 and Travis d'Arnaud #16 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate after retiring the side against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October 18, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 18: Tyler Matzek #68 and Travis d'Arnaud #16 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate after retiring the side against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October 18, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 to move 60-56 and back into a tie for the NL East lead.

Here I am in the wee hours of the morning writing this Atlanta Braves game recap. Why?

Because I care… and because the game was delayed three hours. Yes, we got started a little late tonight and it looked like the delay had affected Charlie Morton early in the game.

The Nationals scored two runs in the first inning, the first of which came from an RBI single from Juan Soto that scored Victor Robles. Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Alcides Escobar to give the Nats a 2-0 lead.

Fortunately, Morton settled in — striking out four of the next six hitters. The Nationals threatened again in the fourth inning, but the Braves were bailed out by a great throw from Adam Duvall.

Bell attempted to score on a Luis García single, but Duvall was having none of it.

Morton would have first and third in the sixth inning but K’d Yadiel Hernández and Carter Kieboom to end his night after six innings of two-run ball. Another quality start from the veteran pitcher.

Thankfully, the Braves offense showed up tonight with four solo home runs against a tough opponent:  the same Josiah Gray who tamed them last week. Travis d’Arnaud got it started with a solo shot in the fifth inning.

This was the first home run by a Braves catcher since June 18th.  Welcome back Travis! We have missed you.

Ozzie Albies continued his hot stretch with a game-tying home run in the sixth inning. That is now three home runs in the past three games for the second baseman.

Austin Riley likewise continued his breakout campaign by giving the Braves the lead in the seventh inning with an opposite-field shot. Dansby Swanson then gave the Braves an insurance run in the eighth inning with his twenty-first home run of the year: a new Braves record for a shortstop.

Richard Rodríguez worked a scoreless seventh inning. It got off to a worrisome start with a few weakly hit singles, but he escaped thanks to a great diving catch by Dansby.

Tyler Matzek looked great in the eighth inning, including a nasty pitch to strike out Soto. He stranded Hernández at second by striking out Kieboom — his 3rd of the night.

This left Will Smith with a two-run lead in the ninth inning and we were all hoping for a nice easy 1-2-3 inning as the clock passed 1 AM.

It was not a nice easy 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Smith immediately hit Luis Garcia and walked Tres Barrera and Braves country collectively sighed, as they had seen this movie play out over recent games.

Thankfully, Smith locked in: he struck out Braves-killer Ryan Zimmerman, got a flyout from Robles, and K’d Escobar to give the Braves the victory.

What a wild and long night. A win is a win though. Time to move on to tomorrow.

Saturday features the battle of the lefties! Max Fried will battle Patrick Corbin this evening.

With the Mets and the Phillies having tougher schedules coming up, the Braves have a terrific opportunity to improve their standing in the NL East with their upcoming schedule.

Next. This party still isn't over!. dark

Let’s get another tonight and keep the hot streak going.