After another victory on Tuesday evening, the Atlanta Braves entered Wednesday afternoon with a 6.5-game lead in the National League East. Obviously, that is a comfortable working margin as mid-September approaches but, in the same breath, the team had a nice opportunity (as the Las Vegas favorite) to build on their advantage with another win over the San Francisco Giants in the series finale. In the end, the Braves were able to finish the job, outlasting the Giants for a 2-1 victory and a series sweep.
The Giants actually struck first on this afternoon, as Evan Longoria produced an RBI single to score Joe Panik in the third inning. Aside from that, however, Braves starter Anibal Sanchez enjoyed a strong day at the office.
Sanchez did issue five walks and, while that is less than optimal by any estimation, the veteran managed to navigate six innings while allowing only that one run. By the time he left the game, the Braves had knotted the game (with an RBI single from Freddie Freeman in the sixth), and Atlanta finally prevailed with some late heroics.
Ozzie Albies put together some strong defensive moments to preserve the tie and, eventually, the late lead, including a bizarre play in which Giants outfielder Alen Hanson was called out due to a base-running mistake. The game-winning blow was struck from Tyler Flowers, though, as the veteran catcher produced an infield (yes, infield) single to plate Charlie Culberson in the ninth inning.
From there, Jonny Venters entered the fray for a comfortable, three-out save and the Braves were able to escape with a 6-1 road trip. All told, the run prevention was very strong, with Jesse Biddle and Dan Winkler joining forces with Sanchez and Venters to allow only one run. The offense was less than stellar in this game against Derek Holland and company but, as any MLB team would indicate in September, the eventual result is all that matters and the cards fell right for the Braves in this spot.
With the win, Atlanta extends its division lead to seven games (pending other results) and the team’s magic number currently sits at 11. Stay tuned for more information and all the latest on the Braves moving forward.