The Atlanta Braves lost last night 7 – 6 to the San Diego Padres. Losses in any Major League Baseball game can leave a team anywhere from frustrated to irritated to downright depressed. So you might be surprised to hear that the Braves left the loss with smiles on their faces and content in their effort. Oh that’s impossible right? I assure you it is possible and makes perfect sense. Allow me to explain.
First you need to know that Braves pitcher Julio Teheran had reasons to feel okay about his outing even though he gave up five runs. One run was scored on a RBI groundout dribbler down the first base line after a slightly misplayed ball. After that he just threw two bad pitches. One went out for a solo homer and the other was a three-run shot. There you go, five runs and still feeling okay about a performance.
From there we have to jump to the eighth inning. At that point the Braves were down 7 – 1. Any time even a good team is down by six runs in the top of the eighth inning, it usually is academic that they are going to lose. All the Braves did from that point on was hit three homers and score five more runs. Two of those runs were solo homers by the red hot Jason Heyward in consecutive innings. His bat finally getting going is more than a reason to be happy.
Then there is the ever growing legend of Evan Gattis. ‘El Oso Blanco’ came to the plate with two on and the Braves down 7 – 2. The Padres decided to come to the middle of the plate on Gattis and the only thing left of the baseball after that was a cloud of rosin. As he rounded the bases the camera caught a funny look of disbelief on Freddie Freeman’s face even as they still trailed by two runs. Mike Minor was clapping and laughing with a giant grin on his face. These guys were actually having fun while losing.
Sure they were coming back at an incredible rate but to a man I think it was the fact that they were proud of themselves for not giving up. The game finally ended with Justin Upton striking out on a questionable pitch near the outside corner. They still felt great about their effort and as a team. What kind of team walks away from a loss like this with a smile on their faces? A winning team, that’s what kind.