The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies engaged in another intense game on Tuesday. It started out great for Atlanta but things quickly became tense in the late innings as Philly fought back to send the game into extra innings.
Braves fans are likely all too familiar with knowing how quickly things can change in a game with a division rival. Last year's NLDS still stings a bit when thinking back on it. Luckily, Atlanta was able to come away with a 7-6 win and drop their magic number to just 2 games.
Max Fried started for the Braves and pitched fairly well despite allowing a solo home run to Nick Castellanos in the second inning. Fried was able to complete 5 innings allowing just the one earned run on 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. His day ended with 87 pitches thrown and 53 of those were strikes.
Atlanta was able to jump all over Zack Wheeler in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 6-1 lead halfway through the game. Matt Olson kicked things off in the fourth inning with his 51st home run of the season. That homer tied him with Andruw Jones for the franchise record for home runs in a single season.
After that, the Braves decided it was time to add even more as Ronald Acuna Jr. absolutely demolished a 424-foot homer into the left field seats to score two runs. That was followed a few batters later by a 3-run home run that was obliterated by Marcell Ozuna.
That put Atlanta up 6-1 and seemed like an easy win was at hand. However, that wasn't the case as Philly fought back against the Braves bullpen. Philly scored 5 unanswered runs between the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings.
3 of those runs came in the 8th inning off of Joe Jimenez. Bryce Harper launched a homer into the seats for a solo shot and Bryson Stott then launched a ball out of the park for a 3-run home run. Jo Jimenez was replaced by A.J. Minter to finish out the eighth with no further damage.
The Phillies didn't add any more runs that inning but a Trea Turner homer tied things up at 6 apiece in the 9th against Raisel Iglesias.
Somehow, Iglesias was able to escape the inning allowing just one run but he did allow two hits in the inning. A strikeout of J.T. Realmuto got the first out of the inning and Iglesias then got out of the inning simply by getting Nick Castellanos to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Braves had the task of facing Craig Kimbrel in the 10th inning. Ultimately, Atlanta would score on an RBI single in the top of the 10th to put them back in the lead. This lead would stay 7-6 as the Braves take game three by a 7-6 final from Tuesday. Brad Hand pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th, stranding the runner at third.
The Braves' three home runs increased their season total to 281, which is two more than the NL record that was set by the 2019 Dodgers. So, another record was broken by this 2023 Braves team. They are also on pace to hit 314 home runs on the year which is 4 more than the record set by the 2019 Twins (during the "juiced ball" era).
Ronald Acuna Jr. has himself just 3 homers away from a 40-40 season. If he reaches that mark he will have 40 home runs and 65 stolen bases which is a feat that has never been accomplished by anyone. Acuña is just seven stolen bases away from tying Otis Nixon’s modern-day record of 72 set back in the 1991 season.
Ronald also broke another record when he scored his 132nd run of the season with that 2-run homer. This broke Dale Murphy’s modern-day franchise record for runs in a season. Murph set this record back during the 1983 season which was the season he won his second consecutive MVP award. Acuna is already listed 4th on that list for runs scored when he scored 127 of them back in 2019.
The series finale kicks off Wednesday at 6:40 PM EST as Spencer Strider takes the mound at Citizen Bank Park.