This day in Braves history: Nick Markakis walks-off Phillies on Opening Day

The Atlanta Braves season got off to an entertaining start on this day in 2018.
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Patrick Duffy/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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On this day, March 29, back in 2018, the Atlanta Braves season got off to a strong start, as the club defeated the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies by a final score of 8-5 in walk-off fashion, setting the stage for a year that would certainly become a memorable one for the organization.

This day in Braves history: Markakis walks-off Phillies on Opening Day

At the time, both teams were coming off under-.500 seasons, with each organization excited for the start of the 2018 campaign in their own right. Atlanta was nearing the end of their rebuild, while the Phillies were beginning a new era under manager Gabe Kapler.

As for the game, the 2018 season opener in Atlanta featured a pitching matchup of Julio Teheran vs. Aaron Nola, the latter of which was pulled after 5.1 innings where he allowed only one earned run on 68 pitches, with the Phillies also leading 5-0 at the time. Teheran however allowed four earned runs over 5.2 innings and 90 pitches.

With the Phillies holding the aforementioned 5-0 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Atlanta would strike for the first time in that frame via a Freddie Freeman two-run HR to make the score 5-2. That score would remain until the bottom of the eighth, when Ozzie Albies hit a solo HR to make it 5-3. The Braves then tied the game via a run scored off an error by Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp, as well as an RBI single from Preston Tucker.

Tied 5-5 entering the ninth inning, Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino tossed a one-two-three top of the frame, setting the stage for Atlanta to potentially win it in the bottom. The Braves would do just that as Nick Markakis hit a three-run walk-off HR off Phillies reliever Hector Neris, scoring both Charlie Culberson and Freeman to win the game, 8-5.

In all, the Braves out-hit Philadelphia for the contest, 9-6, with Markakis leading the way at one-for-five with a HR and three RBI. Freeman also enjoyed a strong game going one-for-two with two RBI and three walks, while Vizcaino was dominant out of the bullpen striking out the side on 16 pitches in the ninth.

That season, the Atlanta Braves would go on to win the NL East for the first time since 2013 with a 90-72 overall record, with this year also starting the run of six-straight division titles for the organization.

The 2018 season also marked the lone All-Star campaign in the 15-year MLB career of Markakis, as the veteran outfielder slashed .297/.366/.440 with 14 HR, 93 RBI, and a 2.6 WAR. He may have been here during the down years but Nick Markakis was one of the highlights during that span.

With the 2024 season getting underway on Friday afternoon, fans prepare themselves for new memories and hopefully, another exciting Opening Day win.

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