We all know why Anthopolous worked so hard to add relievers at the deadline: so we would not have to watch Luke Jackson with the game on the line. No such luck tonight. Shane Greene was given his first save opportunity as a Brave, entering the ninth with a 4-3 lead. He now has his first blown save as a Brave. Give Jackson credit; with the game tied in the 10th, Luke struck out the side. In fact, Jackson earned a W, because Ronald Acuña had a walk off rbi hit in the bottom of the 10th giving the Braves a 5-4 victory.
For a while in this game, I thought we might not see any relievers for the Braves. Keuchel pitched so well through six innings that it looked like we might get a second complete game in 3 days. For those six innings, Dallas was masterful, allowing only two baserunners on a hit and a walk, both by Aristides “the Just” Aquino. He had only tossed 72 pitches to that point.
Meanwhile, the Braves had built a 3-0 lead. The Braves struck first in the third, scoring without the benefit of a hit. Albies walked, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. They pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on an Ozzie triple, a run scoring double by Freeman, and a run scoring double by Duvall. Ozzie had two hits, two runs scored, and two stolen bases on the night (and as if that wasn’t enough, he pulled translator duty in the post-game TV interview of RAJ).
But in the top of the seventh, Keuchel gave up two groundball singles. The second one was just under the glove of Camargo–looked like it could have and should have been an inning ending DP. Then, boom, a 3 run homer by Aristides (“the best and most honorable man in Athens”), and the game was tied.
Mark Melancon made his Braves debut in the 8th. He gave up a walk and a bloop hit but rendered a scoreless inning. Then the Braves drew four walks in the bottom of the 8th to take a 4-3 lead. Acuña got the go ahead rbi with a bases loaded walk. He is so impressive; he so rarely offers at balls out of the zone, and his patience gave the Braves the lead.
And set up the perfect opportunity for Greene to introduce himself to Atlanta fans and earn his first save. He really didn’t pitch badly. In fact, as several of you noted during the game, his ninth looked a lot like a Luke Jackson ninth, with lots of bad BABIP luck. He surrended a looping liner to left, and a ground ball single on an 0-2 count (with different positioning it could have been a double play). A dribbler to mound advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd. A flare to left tied the game, but Duvall made a strong throw to cut down the go ahead runner at the plate.
That led to the 10th inning heroics by RAJ, and as Skip Caray would have said, “Braves Win! Braves Win! Braves Win!” Today is the 11th anniversary of Skip’s death. He was one of a kind and a real treasure. See this tribute by our own AAR: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rest-in-peace-skip-caray_b_116849.
On Sunday, the Braves go for 3 out of 4 in the series behind Julio Teheran against Sonny Gray. The division lead is now 7 games. Keep the pedal to the metal.