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Gattis Slumbers Early But Wakes Up Late As Braves Beat Marlins In Extras

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After blowing a late lead (and nearly wasting another stellar performance from Alex Wood), Evan Gattis once again came through with a big, late, go-ahead home run against the Marlins to give the Braves a priceless victory

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Gattis missed out on a couple of big opportunities earlier in this game to extend the Braves lead. However, he ended up making up for those missed opportunities by coming up big in extra innings with a solo home run that ended up giving the Braves a big win over the Marlins.

There was no scoring for the first quarter of the game, and that was mostly because of Alex Wood and Nathan Eovaldi both picking up where they left off on Sunday evening, trading scoreless frames left and right. The trading ended in the 4th inning, which is when the Braves drew first blood.

Justin Upton became the 3rd Braves baserunner of the night in the 4th when he was hit by a pitch from Eovaldi, which gave him a free pass to 1st base. Gattis then picked up his 1st hit of the night with a single that shuffled J-Up into scoring position. Andrelton Simmons cashed in the runner with a looping shot up the middle, easily scoring Upton from 2nd to give the Braves the lead.

The next contributor to the Braves' offense was an extremely unexpected character. With 2 outs and 2 on, the Marlins decided that instead of giving B.J. Upton an opportunity to shed his label of being "Bad Upton," they'd rather take their chances with the light-hitting Alex Wood. This bit Miami in the behind for 2 reasons:

  • B.J. Upton had 3 strikeouts in him tonight, and there's no reason to think that he didn't have an inning-ending 4th K in him
  • Alex Wood did this

Yep, that is video evidence of Alex Wood bringing in 2 runs. It actually happened. That was Wood's 1st and 2nd career RBIs and also his first hit off of Eovaldi. The surprising self-help gave the Braves a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the 4th.

Naturally, the 3-run lead was immediately chipped away at, as the Marlins picked up a run after a Casey McGehee walked eventually turned into a Jeff Baker RBI single to make it 3-1. Wood got into a bit more trouble in that inning, but he managed to get out of a bases loaded jam with no further damage, doing a great job of mitigating the damage and preserving the lead for Atlanta.

Despite the Braves' best efforts (which included Evan Gattis fouling out in the 5th with runners on 2nd and 3rd and striking out with the bases loaded in the 7th), the game stayed at 3-1 until the bottom of the 8th inning, which is when the Marlins made their move.

Alex Wood walked Christian Yelich to start off the bottom of the 8th, and that was the final batter he'd face for the night, as he completed another excellent night on the mound for Atlanta. As bad as Aaron Harang was last night, that's how good Alex Wood was tonight. One guy who didn't have his best stuff was Jordan Walden, who made his first appearance in 8 days. Naturally, when you bring in a guy who is dealing with a bit of rust in a high leverage situation, it's not exactly going to be smooth sailing and it definitely wasn't for Walden.

The first batter Walden faced was Donovan Solano and he walked as well, putting 2 runners on for Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton grounded out, but the two other runners both advanced 90 feet thanks to Freddie Freeman booting what could have possibly been a double play ball. While Walden and the Braves defense made it past Stanton relatively unscathed, they didn't get past Casey McGehee without a scratch, and it was a nasty scratch. McGehee flopped one into shallow center field for a game-tying single. After a wild pitch and a fly out to get out #2 in the 8th, Walden was pulled in favor of David Carpenter, who struck out Jeff Baker to finally end the inning.

Carpenter also pitched a clean bottom of the 9th inning, and it's a good thing that he did because it gave Evan Gattis another chance at the plate in the top of the 10th. After coming up short in his previous 2 attempts to help the Braves out, El Oso Blanco made up for it by absolutely crushing a ball to center field. It didn't hit the Fishstravaganza out there, but it came close and Gattis was initially credited with a triple...until the Braves challenged the call and it turned out that the ball actually cleared the yellow line out there, which means that Gattis successfully trolled this weird ballpark and got himself a homer instead, putting the Braves back in the lead. If there are 2 guys who the Marlins have to be absolutely sick of lately, it's Alex Wood and Evan Gattis, who have both done some serious damage to Miami in the past 7 days.

Of course, a close Braves lead in a game-ending situation means that Craig Kimbrel gets to come out to play, and Kimbrel was up for the challenge tonight. He induced a pop fly on a full count out of Christian Yelich, struck out Donovan Solano, and got Giancarlo Stanton to feebly ground out to first to end the game.

After last night's calamitous game, this was just what the doctor ordered: A bounce-back victory for the Braves. Compound that with the Brewers losing (and a Nationals loss if you're still holding on to that pipe dream), and you've got yourself an extremely productive night for Atlanta, as they moved back into a tie for the 2nd and final Wild Card spot in the National League and moved back into the win column.

Source: FanGraphs