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Austin Riley provided the swing of the series, as the Braves mount a furious comeback, win 5-4 and even the series 1-1

In a must-win game, the Braves offense comes through in dramatic fashion

MLB: NLDS-Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves came into Monday night’s game in a must-win situation. They couldn’t go down 0-2 in the series with the next 2 games being in Philadelphia. That would almost certainly be the end of their season. Zack Wheeler had other plans. He shoved, while Max Fried struggled coming back from a long layoff. But the Braves mounted a furious rally, scoring 5 runs in their last three innings at the plate, stunning the Phillies 5-4, and head back to Philadelphia with a much more manageable 1-1 series tie.

Right from the start, you could tell Max Fried wasn’t himself, constantly falling behind in the count and leaving pitches over the middle of the plate. Trea Turner tagged him for a double in the first inning, and then was immediately brought home on an RBI single by Alec Bohm. Fried would eventually load the bases in the first after two more hits, but escaped with only 1 run scoring. The frame did cost him 30 pitches, however.

The second inning went a bit easier for Fried, with only walk tallied against him, but he did have to throw another 21 pitches to get the three outs. He threw 51 pitches through the first two innings, struggling with his command the whole way.

Meanwhile Zack Wheeler looked dominant to start the game. He struck out the first three hitters of the game on 17 pitches, and then struck out the side in the 2nd inning after a leadoff error. First time through the order, the Braves’ offense went 0-9 with 7 strikeouts. it looked like it was going to be a long night.

It only got worse in the third inning, when Bryce Harper led off the inning with a single, and then JT Realmuto deposited a Max Fried hanging slider 400+ feet into the Braves bullpen to make it 3-0. With the way Wheeler was pitching, it felt like 10-0. Fried’s evening ended after the fourth, finishing with four innings pitched, 6 hits, 4 walks and 3 earned runs.

The Phillies would add one more run in the 5th, after a throwing error from Travis d’Arnaud led to a sac fly, and the Braves had a quite a climb in front of them, with one of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound and dealing.

The first step was keeping the Phillies at 4 runs, which the bullpen accomplished. Joe Jimenez, Pierce Johnson, AJ Minter, and Rasiel Iglesias held the Phillies scoreless from the 5th inning on, at least giving the offense a chance. But the offense had to get going.

It started with a 2-out walk to Ronald Acuńa Jr in the sixth. Ozzie Albies then roped a single to right field that allowed Acuńa to get to third. But Trea Turner bobbled the ball as it was thrown in from right and Acuńa noticed immediately, raced home, and scored the first run of the game, and series, for the Braves.

4-1.

Wheeler stayed in the game for the 7th inning, a decision that ended up costing the Phillies even more of their lead. After Matt Olson led off the inning with a single, d’Arnaud stepped up to the plate and launched a hanging sweeper into the left field seats for a 2-run homer. The lead was now 4-3 and more importantly, Truist Park and the Braves’ offense had awoken.

The Braves capped off their comeback in the eighth, after Acuńa was hit by a pitch with one out and a an Albies groundout. Austin Riley stepped up and proved the biggest swing of the series so far, a 2-run shot to left, and the Braves had their first lead of the night, and their first lead of the series.

A game that exciting was always going to end on with some fireworks and ninth inning didn't fail to deliver. After Harper walked to start the frame, the Braves brought closer Raisel Iglesias in to try and finish the game. Iglesias got Realmuto on a fly out to center for the first out and then Nick Castellanos stepped up:

The Braves finished the game with your typical 8-6-1 double play, as Harper got too far off first on the ball in the gap. Incredible play by Harris, incredible play by Riley, and an incredible come back win on a night they desperately needed it.

Next up, Game 3 in Philly Wednesday night.

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