The Atlanta Braves are guaranteed to be in first place in the National League East when a three-game showdown begins Tuesday with the second-place Philadelphia Phillies.
They’d like to expand the advantage by making it three straight against the Padres when the teams meet Sunday in the series finale in San Diego.
The Braves have the momentum after scoring a run in the ninth inning against San Diego closer Mark Melancon, then won 10-8 with two runs in the 10th. The victory enabled the Braves to retain their 1 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the division. The Braves’ magic number is seven games.
With the loss, the Padres — a longshot in the race for the second wild card in the NL — were eliminated.
“At one point it felt we were in a playoff game, with the crowd going nuts like it was,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “I like the way they roared back and kept coming. It kind of defines who these guys are, the fight.”
Atlanta (82-72) has won three of five meetings this season against San Diego (78-77).
Atlanta’s Austin Riley was 3-for-6 with two RBIs on Saturday and has 30 doubles, 32 homers and 100 RBIs. He joined Hall of Famers Chipper Jones and Eddie Mathews as the only third basemen in Braves history to have 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBIs in the same season.
Jorge Soler hit his 25th homer, his 12th since joining the Braves at the trade deadline.
San Diego wasted three home runs in the loss, including Manny Machado’s 12th career grand slam. Elimination following a first half of the season that was so bright stung, Machado said.
“We did not reach our goal this year,” Machado said. “We’re going to come back next year hungrier. … We fell short. That’s all that matters, and we’re all down about it. We were expecting something. It didn’t happen.”
San Diego will send Joe Musgrove (11-9, 3.15 ERA) to the mound. The Braves will counter with a bullpen game and start with Jesse Chavez (3-2, 2.37), who went 1 1/3 innings on Tuesday against Arizona.. Atlanta used six relief pitchers in that game, a 6-1 victory.
Musgrove is coming off a shaky start against San Francisco on Tuesday, when he allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Musgrove has not faced the Braves since 2019. In five career starts against Atlanta, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 5.55 ERA.
–Field Level Media