Braves outlast Diamondbacks in dramatic 5-4 win

Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Braves scored early, they didn’t score often but they did score (very) late and it was enough for them to win.

Sean Murphy’s big fly with two outs in the top of the ninth inning helped push this game to extras, which is where the Atlanta Braves held on to a dramatic 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Things started off well enough for the Braves in this one, as it seemed as if they were indeed going to give Yilber Diaz a rude welcome to the big leagues. While Diaz was able to retire the first two Atlanta batters in order, he had no such luck when Austin Riley came to the plate. Not only did Riley reach base, he went ahead and touched them all after hitting one deep to left center to make it a 1-0 ballgame early on.

As it turned out, this was no omen for the Braves or the Diamondbacks, really. Instead, it was the start of the pitcher’s duel that we all totally saw coming between Yilber Diaz and Bryce Elder. The game would remain 1-0 until the sixth inning, as the Braves were unable to take advantage of any scoring opportunities they had against Diaz while Elder did particularly well in his first two trips through the order against Arizona.

Atlanta had an opportunity in the third inning after Sean Murphy led off the inning with an accidental swing that fortunately turned into a base hit and then Orlando Arcia hit a single of his own to get things started early in the frame for the Braves. Sadly, nothing came of the opportunity as the top of the order was unable to get the job done and put some more runs on the board.

The Braves’ next scoring chance came during the sixth inning, which is when Jarred Kelenic led off that frame with a single and then stole second base with one out to get into scoring position. Matt Olson eventually joined Kelenic on the basepaths after he took a two-out walk, which meant that Marcell Ozuna was one big fly away from potentially putting the Braves in complete control of the contest. Unfortunately for Atlanta, the debuting pitcher was able to leave a slider right on the edge of the zone that Ozuna took for strike three to let the scoring chance pass by the wayside.

This ended up costing the Braves once the bottom half of the frame rolled around. Bryce Elder stayed out to face the top of Arizona’s order and it sure didn’t help matters that he had to deal with Corbin Carroll with a man in scoring position after Gerardo Perdomo hit a bloop bouncer that Orlando Arcia made a complete meal out of. Perdomo ended up on second after that play and then Carroll singled to tie the game up. To make matters even worse, Carroll stole second and then was joined on the basepaths by both Ketel Marte and Joc Pederson after Elder walked them both. The third trip through the top of the order didn’t go well at all for Elder and he had to exit in favor of Grant Holmes.

Holmes was suddenly given the unenviable task of facing Christian Walker with the bases loaded. Holmes pitched very carefully around Walker and as a result, Walker coaxed a walk out of Holmes to give Arizona the lead. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then golfed one from way below the zone and into deep center for a sacrifice fly that made it 3-1 Diamondbacks.

There was still just one out on the board while this was going on but the second out ended up getting recorded in spectacular fashion. Matt Olson chased down a pop up in foul territory in order to make a dazzling sliding catch and then alertly popped up and threw it in to home plate. Joc Pederson was frozen at third and then Holmes got Eugenio Suárez to line out to end the inning. It was a rough inning for sure but Matt Olson’s great play helped to make sure that it didn’t get any worse.

Either way, the Braves went from nursing a thin one-run lead to suddenly having to chase a pair of runs in order to keep the game going. With that being said, we’ve all seen how this Braves lineup has routinely suffered from power outages so it would’ve been understandable to think that this would’ve been just another one of those nights at the ballpark this season for Atlanta. Indeed, the Braves were unable to get anything going once Kevin Ginkel entered the game in the seventh inning and then Ryan Thompson kept them quiet in the eighth inning as well.

Thanks to the efforts of Grant Holmes, Arizona stayed at three runs as the game headed into the ninth inning. The Braves had to deal with Paul Sewald if they wanted to keep the game going and the first two outs went according to plan for Arizona. Getting that 27th and final out proved to be very, very tricky for Sewald though. Eddie Rosario marked his return to the lineup with a two-out single in order to keep the game going and he made it into scoring position via defensive indifference while Sean Murphy was at the plate.

Paul Sewald got to a 1-1 count on Sean Murphy before throwing him a 92 mph fastball that he left tantalizingly in the zone. Murphy absolutely muscled it and sent it flying deep and far opposite field. Once it landed, the ball was in the pool area in right center and the Braves had tied the ballgame up at three runs apiece.

That’s how the score remained heading into extra innings after Raisel Iglesias sat down the Diamondbacks in 1-2-3 fashion in order to end the regularly scheduled innings. Jarred Kelenic led off the extra innings with a deep fly ball that looked like it was destined to clear some sort of fence. If Kelenic had hit that in 18 other ballparks, it would’ve cleared a fence. Instead, it landed in Alek Thomas’ glove for the first out of the tenth inning. Ozzie Albies hit another laser to right field — this batted ball had an xBA of .660, preceded by Kelenic’s fly ball having an xBA of .630. Both hits resulted in an out but at least Ozzie’s hit resulted in a sacrifice fly that put the Braves back in the lead.

Now it was time for Raisel Iglesias to walk the tightrope of holding onto a one-run lead with a ghost runner already in scoring position — while also having pitched the ninth inning, no less. The tightrope routine proved to be a bit too tricky for Iglesias to complete flawlessly, sadly. The Diamondbacks did the smart thing and played A-B-C baseball to get the game tied up — Alek Thomas hit a sacrifice bunt to move the ghost runner over and then Geraldo Perdomo hit a fly ball that was more-than deep enough for the speedy pinch runner Jake McCarthy to score. Iglesias got Carroll to ground out and so ended the first extra inning.

The next inning saw the Braves continue their theme of hitting the ball extremely hard with little to show for it. Matt Olson hit a 109 mph ground ball that was nearly a ground out but Ketel Marte couldn’t quite corral it so it ended up turning into an infield single that moved the runner over. Marcell Ozuna then proceeded to hit a 112 mph laser that had an xBA of .840. The bad news is that Ozuna’s laser stayed up long enough for Corbin Carroll to eventually make the catch. The good news is that Carroll’s throw to the cutoff man and the cutoff man’s throw wasn’t in time to keep Austin Riley from scoring, so that was another run scored for the Braves. While Eli White didn’t hit a rocket, himself, he did go down after a groundout and so Atlanta once again had to find a way to make that one-run lead stick.

Joe Jiménez got the ball for the eleventh inning and found himself in trouble with one out after Joc Pederson walked in order to put the winning run on base. It was time for Jiménez to lock in and he did just that. Jiménez struck out Christian Walker on a full count for the second out and then it took him one pitch to get Lourdes Gurriel to hit a deep fly ball to left. The fly ball didn’t land in the seats, on the wall or on the grass, either — it landed safely in Eli White’s glove to end the game and give the Braves a winning start to their road trip.

As (what feels like) usual when it comes to the Braves and games out West, this one definitely got weird at times but the main thing to focus on is that the Braves got the win. This was an incredibly gutsy effort from the Braves to keep fighting right until the very end — they usually do so in nearly every game but tonight was the night where their late-game fighting spirit actually paid off for them.

Atlanta is now in the 50-win club with the current NL divisional leaders and this was also a crucial win to help push back a team that’s currently looking up at the Braves in the Wild Card race. Atlanta will now be looking to push Arizona back even further tomorrow night as Chris Sale will be starting tomorrow’s game, which is scheduled to start 9:40 P.M. E.T.

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Title: Braves outlast Diamondbacks in dramatic 5-4 win
Author: Demetrius Bell

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