After blowing a pair of two-run leads and trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 late, the Atlanta Braves tallied seven runs on five hits in the bottom of the eighth inning to earn an 11-5 victory on Saturday in Atlanta.
While other guys helped the Braves add to their lead, the go-ahead score came courtesy of a heads-up play by Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who scored on a throwing error by Diamondbacks left fielder Jason Kubel after pinch-hitter Reed Johnson had already crossed the plate on the play, a double by right fielder Jason Heyward.
The announcers, like myself, were surprised that Simmons was able to see the ball bounce far enough away from Arizona third baseman Eric Chavez for him to score. But at this point, none of us should be shocked by anything the talented and instinctive 23-year-old does. Although it seemed like he had eyes in the back of his head on the aforementioned play, given that he couldn’t have seen the throw coming in, he broke towards the plate immediately and was able to score before the D-Backs knew what had hit them.
Even though the Braves received a two-run home run from first baseman Freddie Freeman earlier in the game and added several insurance runs during the rest of the eighth, it was the little things that made the difference. In addition to Simmons’s run, they also scored two runs on no hits thanks to five walks and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth, showing great patience and just be willing to do what it took to regain the lead after entering the frame with the game tied at two runs apiece.
And despite the fact that they possess one of the most fearsome lineups in Major League Baseball, capable of bashing homers right and left at times, the Braves will also find themselves having to win games such as the one they did on Saturday.
They haven’t always done so, but the little things were good enough to give them their second straight win and their 23rd comeback triumph of the season.