DENVER – If the Braves succeed in their attempt to win the Eastern National League title for the fifth consecutive time, they will likely recognize this wild ride as an extension where they turned things around.
Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a career high with four strokes, Matt Olson hit a three-stroke and impressed Charlie Morton once again with his protection as he helped the Braves complete a four-game sweep with an 8-7 win over the Rockies at Coors Stadium. Sunday afternoon. The World Defending Championship champions are heading home with the best winning streak in five straight games and their first win record (28-27) since they were 2-1 on April 9.
“Any combing you do is a good thing,” Olson said. “Coming here and having the guys throw the way they’ve done this whole series and having it sweep for four games is just amazing.”
The Braves claimed a home series against the Marlins and then lost the first two games of this seven-game wild ride in Arizona. They suffered their heaviest loss of the season on Tuesday, when they made several blunders, threw to the wrong rules, blew up a late lead and lost 10 1/2 games behind the first-placed Mets.
But rather than flounder, they built a five-game winning streak and kept themselves within 8 1/2 games of the Mets (37-19). With 55 games last year, the Braves were 26-29 and four games out of the top spot in the NL East race.
“We played two of the least matches [in Arizona]Director Brian Snicker said. “The guys refocused and played as well as they could.”
Here are five reasons to be encouraged as the Braves go home:
1. Next schedule
The next 12 Braves match will be against the A’s, Pirates, Nationals and the Cubs. Each of these clubs has a losing record and Pittsburgh is the only member of this group to have at least 10 games under 0.500.
Meanwhile, the Mets will spend their next four series playing Padres, Angels, Brewers and Marlins. San Diego and Milwaukee each stand at least 10 games above 0.500.
2. Enjoy good health
With Acuña strong enough to play on the right field in each of the last three games of the series, the Braves have been reminded of how strong they defend off the field when he’s not off the bench or serving as a DH. It was the first time he had played off the field for three days in a row since returning from a torn right ACL on April 28.
Acuña started Sunday’s four-goal with three singles strokes and headed 441 feet in Game Eight from Robert Stephenson. The 24-year-old has delivered a multi-point performance in three of his past four games, notching .
“I think it’s good, because we saw that I could play three games away from the field. We saw that he was getting better and we saw what I was able to do,” said Acuña.
3. Olson heating
Olson entered on May 24 registering the .244 with the .787 OPS. Since then, the left sweeper has fought a 0.28 with three homing pigeons and a 0.958 OPS. He came back during a four-stroke game in Arizona and got the green light for the three-stroke horse in the second inning of Sunday’s win.
Long after his 441-foot shot, the tallest of his seven guards this year, Olson finished the match by diving to touch first base before Sam Hilliard reached the bag. A review of the replay confirmed the call to provide a fitting ending to this exciting series, which included two additional games.
“I wasn’t sure if he would defeat Kenley [Jansen] To the bag, Olson explained. “So I thought I had a better chance of getting there myself. I’m glad I didn’t take any knees or anything. It could have been really bad.”
Olson appears to be settling in just in time to welcome the A to Atlanta on Tuesday. The 28-year-old first-choice man played his entire career within the Oakland organization before being acquired by the Braves in March.
As for Morton, he is not back to his dominant nature. But he rebounded from the first inning played on Sunday in 41 courts and three runs and later retired seven of the eight hitters whose right thumb was hit by Randall Grechuk’s comeback in the third inning. His ability to pass five helped a game of the bulls that covered seven innings on Saturday.
“The guys are in good shape,” Morton said. “We’re just trying to get a roll here and keep one.”
5. Slug regeneration?
When Adam Duvall created some insurance with his two-running run in the 11th game of Saturday night’s win, there was hope that this would be the end of his early season struggles. The veteran player, who outstripped 38 players last year, hit back with a hat-trick on Sunday. He hit 0.199 with a 0.566 OPS, but his new season may have started within the last 48 hours.