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Braves trim magic number to 4 with wild, 10-8, extra-inning win over Phillies

This game had bad defense, big homers, pitching implosions, and Kirby Yates of all people slamming the door.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

What a game to recap, and what a game with another one still to play before we can turn in for the night: the Braves pulled off a wild extra-inning win over the Phillies in Game One on Monday afternoon, blowing a two-run lead in the ninth but then making another two-run lead stand up thanks to Kirby Yates’ efforts in the tenth. At the end of this one, the final score was 10-8, as the Braves and Phillies hit a combined four homers and beat up on each others’ pitching and defense.

Things started out as wackily as they ended in this one. Ronald Acuña Jr. walked to start the game, but then got erased on a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out double play. But then, Austin Riley mashed a ball off the wall in left center, and raced around the bases such that he was able to score a Little League home run. The “error” that led to the pseudo-homer was Jake Cave bobbling the ball after picking it up, but really, the carom played a big part as well. Acuña extended the Braves’ lead with a bloop single in the third, scoring Michael Harris II from second.

The Phillies, though, got right back in it against Charlie Morton. The veteran right-hander was not gravitating towards the strike zone early, as he walked two in the first before escaping the jam with a strikeout, and then issued his third walk (and second of the game) to Bryce Harper in the third to put two on with two out. Alec Bohm then followed with a low-liner double into the left-center gap that scored both runners, tying the game.

The Braves tried to rally right back as Phillies starter Taijuan Walker lived up to his namesake and walked the first two Braves in the fourth, but those guys were left stranded. Instead, the Braves rallied successfully in the fifth: Harris was plunked to lead off the inning, advanced to second on an Acuña grounder, and scored on Ozzie Albies’ hard-hit double off the wall. After a second hit-by-pitch, Matt Olson broke the game more open with a two-run double into right-center.

Then, things got really wacky. Morton gave up two singles while getting two outs to start the fifth. (Note that I’m not even gonna mention the third time through the order here because with the doubleheader, it’s clear no one was ever going to care.) Morton got ahead of Bohm 0-2, but then gave up a liner that went in and out of a jumping Albies’ glove and popped into center field, making it a 5-3 game. Bryson Stott followed with a routine flyout to right... except Acuña lost it in the sun. That play led to one run scoring, but just one, because Acuña unleashed his cannon and threw Bohm out in his attempt to touch home plate and tie the game.

The Braves finally forced Walker out in the top of the sixth with Orlando Arcia’s one-out double. The Phillies brought in Andrew Bellatti, who basically torched the game for them. Harris greeted the righty-throwing Bellatti with a two-run homer to make it 7-4, and Acuña followed with a 111.1 mph moonshot that made it 8-4. But, things would not proceed smoothly from there.

Morton wrapped up his day with fewer defensive adventures behind him and more strikeouts — his final line was a 9/4 K/BB ratio in six innings, and he benefited heavily from a steady diet of curveballs fed to Philadelphia hitters in the middle innings. It wasn’t one of his best starts of the year, but it was a great recovery to tone down the walks even as the opposing lineup turned over. Unfortunately, the relief corps did not provide relief. Dylan Lee started the seventh and gave up a leadoff walk and a homer to Trea Turner that made it 8-6. He got Harper to ground out, and then gave way to Joe Jimenez for the next two outs. A.J. Minter made short work of the Phillies in the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias got the first two outs of the ninth easily, but...

...Trea Turner followed by bouncing one towards Albies at second. Albies had to range to make the play and his throw was wide of the bag (though Turner may have been safe with an on-target throw anyway). Iglesias’ next pitch was a hanging changeup down the middle, and just like that, Harper tied the game.

But, the Braves then untied it. Jose Alvarado’s pitching line is imposing, but the Braves weren’t intimidated. Pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar immediately snapped the 8-8 deadlock with an RBI single to score pinch-runner Forrest Wall, and with one out, Arcia doubled again to make it a 10-8 game. That prompted the appearance of Kirby Yates to do what Iglesias could not, and Yates succeeded pretty handily. He got a routine grounder to third, struck out old amigo Cristian Pache, and then after a pretty blatant non-call on 1-2 that had him stomp around and kick dirt on the mound, came right back and struck out Nick Castellanos on a splitter in the dirt.

So, the Braves’ magic number is down to four, and they’ve earned at least a split of the doubleheader. Game Two starts at 6:40 pm ET.

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