Those nondescript Braves didn’t give up on this game, did they?

Atlanta Braves' A.J. Pierzynski is congratulated in the dugout after his two-run homer to right field during the 9th inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants,sending the game into extra innings, Monday, August 3, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves’ A.J. Pierzynski is congratulated in the dugout after his two-run homer to right field during the 9th inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants,sending the game into extra innings, Monday, August 3, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves' A.J. Pierzynski is congratulated in the dugout after his two-run homer to right field during the 9th inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants,sending the game into extra innings, Monday, August 3, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

A.J. Pierzynski after sending this baby to bonus cantos.  (AP Photo/John Amis)

Then again, if you had averted your eyes, you’d have missed this nifty comeback against the reigning World Series champs. Down 6-0 after 5 1/2 innings, down 8-7 after 11 1/2, the Atlanta Braves won 9-8 on a walk-off homer by Adonis Garcia, of whom nobody in this city had heard two weeks ago.

We should note that this rally was achieved without their two best everyday players — Andrelton Simmons, who has a sore a thumb, and Freddie Freeman, who was lifted midway after tweaking his oblique. (He’s day-to-day, as they say.) Into the first-base breach stepped Chris Johnson, who isn’t really a first baseman and lately hasn’t been much of a ballplayer, but darn if he didn’t galvanize this game twice.

First, Johnson led off the seventh with a home run to center field on a 0-2 fastball thrown by the heat-bringer Hunter Strickland. Giants catcher Buster Posey wanted the pitch off the plate, but Strickland’s delivery proved fat enough for Johnson to launch this roughly as far as Posey had driven his third-inning homer. (Johnson’s was the first home run Strickland has yielded in a regular-season big-league game. He did, however, yield six — six! — in the 2014 postseason.)

Johnson’s homer brought the Braves within 6-5, and here you thought, “Hmmm.” With two out and nobody aboard in the ninth, you thought, “Game over.” The Giants had added a ninth-inning run on three consecutive two-out singles off Andrew McKirahan. Javier Lopez retired Nick Markakis to open the bottom of the inning. Santiago Casilla got Eury Perez. Up stepped Johnson, the one Johnson not traded by the Braves over the past fortnight, the one they’d hoped most to trade.

Doggone if he didn’t single to left, which prolonged matters for A.J. Pierzynski. Casilla’s 1-1 pitch was a fastball. (On this hot night, everybody was hitting 100-mile-an-hour fastballs 100 miles.) It landed in the right-field seats. Casilla knew at the moment of impact, dropping to his haunches. The Braves, who’d seen their front office give up on this season, hadn’t given up on this game.

Which hadn’t started at all well. Mike Foltynewicz was throwing 97 mph to no effect. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford lined back-to-back opposite-field homers in the second. Posey hoisted his two-run blast in the third. Crawford homered again in the fourth. (To be fair, Belt’s homer and Crawford’s second smacked the top of the wall. Had the smallish Perez been a bit taller, he might have done the Otis Nixon bit twice. But he isn’t and he didn’t.)

It was 6-0 and all but done. Except it wasn’t. Jace Peterson gave the Braves life in the sixth, lifting a three-run homer to right-center off Matt Cain, who’s coming off elbow and ankle surgery, after flared singles by Pierzynski and Cameron Maybin. Markakis, who spent the evening slapping singles to left field, slapped an RBI single to left field. It was 6-4. Some life in the ol’ Bravos, huh?

From the fourth inning on, the Braves were the sharper team. They turned double plays in the fifth, sixth, 10th and 11th. Pierzynski, who’s 38, threw out Edhire Adrianza, who’s 25, trying to steal to end the 11th. If we hadn’t known that the Giants were chasing another postseason berth and the Braves were kindling hope for 2017 and Cobb County, you’d have thought these were simply two good teams embroiled in a big-time game.

For the home side, it came undone in the top of 12th. Ross Detwiler yielded a single to Kelby Tomlinson, who was making his big-league debut. Then Detwiler  plunked Gregor Blanco. Posey delivered a two-out single off Arodys Vizcaino to make it 8-7. But the Giants left the bases loaded, leaving the door ajar. San Fran needed three outs to win three but was running low on pitchers. (That can happen when you deploy five relievers to get from the sixth through the ninth.)

The Giants summoned Ryan Vogelsong, once an All-Star starting pitcher but lately reduced to long relief. He got no outs, though he should have had one. Peterson reached on Crawford’s bad throw to open the inning. Garcia won it with a screamer over that wall in right-center. Not only had the Braves spotted the Giants six runs and prevailed, they’d spotted the visitors four homers and matched that. And this, as we’ve often noted, is the team that ranks last in the majors in home runs.

Which only goes to show: Baseball is weird. You can’t, as the saying goes, run out the clock. You have to get 27 outs to win. The Giants, playing for the playoffs, got 26 and spit the bit. The Braves, playing for nothing except a paycheck, kept going. Good for them.

Reader Comments 1

55 comments
FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Mark, please, I'm begging you. Stop writing lines like "The Braves, who’d seen their front office give up on this season, hadn’t given up on this game."

The front office gave up on this season before last season had ended. The Braves have also already given up on next season. In fact, the Braves front office hasn't put in an honest effort to win a title for nearly 10 years. 

So stop, please stop, with the "every season has promise" and the "this team may be better than people think" nonsense. This season, like the last five seasons, were never promising. This team has not been better than people think. All you've had to do is look at the damn rosters...

Kickass
Kickass

I would like the writers, broadcasters and sports talk radio knuckleheads to STOP perstering the audience by demanding they buy tickets to see the Braves. When they shell out $300 of THEIR OWN MONEY to see a game, then I will consider it. Until then, don't blame me or other fans for the pitiful attendance at Turner Field. The area is not safe and we have better things to spend our money on than OVER PAID baseball players playing a kid's game! The Rome Braves and Gwinnett Braves offer a better value and you don't have to run to your car or ask for a security escort after the game. 

reckingball
reckingball

They can't see the forest because all of the trees are in the way?

VeryDisgusted
VeryDisgusted

I have never blamed these players or the coaching staff for this season


Its too bad we have ownership and a front office that has given up on the team -- the FO is to blame for everything that has happened and John Hart is the worst thing that has ever happened to the Braves the way he has nuked this franchise of any chance of ever winning

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Nice win against a club that's won 3 WS titles in the last 5 years but also a stark reminder of how Braves teams during the '14 year run' so poorly underachieved by winning just 1 WS title.  Bobby "Greatest Regular Season Mgr of all Time" Cox gets a huge amount of blame for never making changes or going with gut feels in the playoffs.  As a result we always had cold players in the starting lineup, hot players on the bench, and opposing managers that knew exactly what Cox was going to do before he ever made a move.  Keeping Cox around for so long can be fully attributed to Johnny Scheurputz who has a lengthy list of his own blunders and PR disasters over the same period. 

Nashville Jeff
Nashville Jeff

@GeorgeJetsen  So your response to Bradley's article is to post another tired bashing of Bobby Cox and his Braves "inability" to win all the World Series they managed to fight their way to and the several NLCS that they couldn't quite win every time that they made one of their many appearances.  Go be a Cubs, Gnats, Astros, Mariners, etc., etc., etc., fan-----they have reasons to cry, whine, and b...ch.  Second guessing garbage.....

freezboy
freezboy

Ok Mark...you hiding...did you get your Premier League pass yet...lol 

Kevin Sheets
Kevin Sheets

I cant help but agree with the numerous people whom pointed out that Mr Bradley's previous article was titled "Braves fans, this might be the time to avert your eyes." Now, you say don't give up.

I, for one, will watch regardless. You cant have the good without the bad. I enjoy watching these young players and look forward the next game, until its over. 

cloudodust
cloudodust

Dang, if only we could turn back the clock, the Braves would have a Catcher for the future...

AtlantaSportsVictory
AtlantaSportsVictory

The Braves didn't give up, but Bradley had given while also telling us to also give up and follow something else. Funny how things change so quickly. 

tmndc
tmndc

How 'boutcha, Bravos. Started the night cussing at my TV and ended the night screaming at my TV for that ball to "get." Guess that's why we watch sports. What a game. A nice way to honor Skip Caray on the anniversary of his passing.


Shades of the comeback from six down against the Reds in the penultimate series of the regular season in '91. Lower stakes, for sure, but fun nonetheless.  


A.J. is a hoss. Not sure where the narrative about him being a terrible teammate comes from, but I'll take a .290 -plus hitting veteran catcher who calls a good game and leads from the front everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. 


Go Braves! Stay the course. 




freezboy
freezboy

Am I correct here....8 behind the Mets and...10 out of the wildcard??......

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Neither did the fans who were there, Thumbs up to each one of you

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@SomewherenSGa 23,000 real fans made a lot of noise last night; they were into it the whole way.  Good for them too.  Go Braves!  

Matt B
Matt B

The Braves made the wise choice of rebuilding this year. It’s better to accept your fate and position yourself for the future. Hart and company’s acquisitions and trades have improved the culture and team as a whole. As much as I love watching AJ play (last night's pitch frame gave me a good chuckle), I would understand if he is dealt before the August deadline. Same goes for some of the other veterans that enter free agency in 2016. Granted if the return isn’t worth a shake up in leadership then I understand if they are finished trading this year.

I’m curious what moves we make in the offseason. As much as I hate to see FF hurt, this might give Chris Johnson more playing time. I’d give CJ as much playing time as possible. He should be played against LHP and limit his starts against RHP. Don’t play him against elite RHP. Braves know CJ’s weaknesses. Make sure the opposing pitchers aren’t good at exploiting them. Increase his trade stock by strategically playing him where he might put up good numbers. Starting him in opportune times will help us move him before the August deadline or ultimately in the Winter. With a tight payroll I’d try everything possible not to eat the remainder of CJ’s salary. I understand not playing him when you have a shot at the wild card, due to his lack of plate discipline (high strike rate, low walk rate), but we are out of it so give him a chance to make himself appealing to another team.

In 2016 I’d continue the trend of acquiring former all-stars with strong leadership and team building personalities, while trying to pursue a long term option in left field and catcher. Like to see an update on Dian Toscano! (Any update Mark?)

I’d resign AJ at the right price. He is having a great year so he might get a number of offers. If he is too expensive I’d pass on him, but if you can get him at 1 yr 3mil I’d do it. Braves should pursue long term options at Catcher regardless, but I feel like his swagger rubs off on his teammates in a good way, as seen last night. That comeback was awesome, even if the season is all but over.

I’d acquire Barry Zito to help with the development of our young starters. He is the type of player that you bring in when your organization is young and inexperienced like ours. Having a former Cy Young LHP that can occasionally start is a perfect match for this team. I read an article about his attitude. It’s exceptional for a veteran. For someone that played at such a high level he seems like a genuine, humble guy with a sincere team first attitude. 

Gomes is a good presence on the team, but that combined with his production is pricey at 4 mil. I'd sign him to minor league contract at the very least, or an incentive laden contract if we have the roster space.

freezboy
freezboy

@Matt B ....interesting...the Zito thing threw me for a sec though...

IlliniBrave
IlliniBrave

@Matt B I was with you until I read "Barry Zito". Then I had to go back and reassess everything else you said. Never insert names of washed-up retreads when discussing the future of a young team!

Kevin Sheets
Kevin Sheets

@Matt B There are plenty of veteran options that can provide the same leadership and better production than Zito

Matt B
Matt B

@Kevin Sheets @Matt B Maybe so. Regardless of everyone freaking out by the Zito mention the sentiment is the same. Continue with the trend of bringing in old vets that have good leadership, a team first attitude, and who've been successful in the past. A young team benefits from those type of veterans. It also allows us to keep players in AAA that aren't ready. 

Maybe my nostalgia is giving Zito more credit than he is due but, he is performing well enough in the A's AAA affiliate to give a look. I'm not saying give him anything more than a minor league deal and invite to spring training. Whether it's Zito or someone better they will need to go after veteran arms that have been there before.

Nashville Jeff
Nashville Jeff

@Matt B  Good reading until you ran off the tracks on Zito.  Please don't sign him----young pitchers can take their lumps and learn the hard way.  No need to have a pitcher who won't contribute anything but attitude---no matter how "humble" he is.  He should be, after ripping the Giants off for all the money he took from them for the awful performance he gave on the field.

Matt B
Matt B


@Nashville Jeff @Matt B We are primarily a young team and despite the deceptively, scrappy season the Braves have shown us, rebuilding a team isn't a one season event. Next year the front office needs to go after cheap 1 yr Vets or project players as our young guys mature and to help them mature. One season contracts limit our risk and if the season goes south ( which it probably will) you can sell high on the performers at the trade deadline (IE stock up on more prospects, and increase the organizations depth).

Granted I could see them going another direction and it would be ok, but I don't know if we are ready to take this step with the pieces we currently have. The 3 team trade saw us receive a top 35 draft pick. It's possible we try to acquire a Qualified FA Ace like Price or Cueto. I personally would rather us see what we have next year before we invest that kind of money and/or lose a draft pick in the process. Left Field, Catcher, and Third Base are still question marks in my opinion. Yes Hector is the FO's answer to Third Base and maybe Dion Toscano is our answer at Left? We just won't know until they have a full season under their belt and even then you need depth in case of injury. Right now that's what Hart is doing. He's stocking up on arms to increase depth, but to also use as currency to buy much needed pieces. I support the team and what he is doing because I'm not shortsighted and understand baseball is very unforgiving. One horrible signing can handcuff you for multiple seasons. He inherited a mess and has made it better, but we still aren't there, and what I mean by there is a championship caliber team.

Yes Barry Zito might of been a poor example, despite his leading the A's AAA team in K's and having a 2.40 ERA since May, but he is a project player. Someone you can acquire cheap and DFA if he doesn't show you anything at Spring Training. Going after guys in the twilight of their career is what I expect us to continue. It keeps payroll low, fills the team with vets, and ensures we aren't handcuffed to a contract going forward.

J_ATL
J_ATL

2016 infield of Freeman, Peterson, Simmons, and Oliveria with Garcia as a bench player looks pretty darn good. Add one more OF to go with Maybin and Markakis, pitching works out internally and all of a sudden the last season at the Ted could be pretty special. 


Goggy
Goggy

What does one have to do to get the comment section to not show up partially off the screen to the right? Seriously, AJC, you have had this problem for months. Maybe you're too busy throwing up click-bait pictures to fix it?

boxcarlarrybravesfan
boxcarlarrybravesfan

I agree,  I turned off my recording and was working in my office and was listening when I heard Chip call Petersons homer.  I watched off and on from there and got to watch Garcia's homer and A.J.'s reaction, It was classic.  I agree this team is fun to watch and we have the right veterans on this team (A.J. and Gomes) to make sure every one hustles.  I'll admit they are hard to watch from time to time but I can't wait until 7pm every night they're playing.  I've been watching since the late seventies and will watch until I'm in the grave good or bad win or lose I'm in.  Not saying I like to lose, but I'll put up with it for a short time.  I believe we won't be bad for to long.   Nice article Mark Bradley.

Centrist
Centrist

Best game I've seen all season, not just from the Braves but from any team.  They aren't very good but they don't quit.  You have to tip your hat to guys like that.  That crew from last year would have folded up like a cheap cardboard box.  Not these guys, and that's why I'll keep watching because they've got some more of what we saw last night in them.  Fun baseball, which is the way it should be.  I also think that A.J. is the driving force in that clubhouse to never give up.  I really liked it when the Braves got him over the winter.  Hope he's still around next year too.

DrPhill
DrPhill

I actually did watch because the Pittsburg rain out switched to Atlanta. I haven't watched all year, but this was one of the most amazing wins the Braves have pulled since Sid Bream scored in the playoff with Pittsburg.

Kickass
Kickass

@DrPhill the PITTSBURGH fans needed something to occupy their time so it was either the Braves or Monty Python.

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

This scrappy veteran led team won't quit. They don't even know the word exists. Sure they're short handed, lacking talent and headed to Disney Land after game 162.


But what makes them special is perfect example they are setting for 2016. These guys are laying the ground work for future success.

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

@HUDDYS1FAN ..........AJ batting over .300 with over 200 plate appearances is one positive for a team whose season is slowly sinking.I truly hope they resign him in the offseason and keep him around!

_CraZy_
_CraZy_

Most people didn't watch... M Bradley said to ignore them until next spring!

freezboy
freezboy

I must admit I turned it off when the game was 8-7.....shame on me

reckingball
reckingball

That' a winning streak isn't it? Two games won, in a row.

Go Braves!

reckingball
reckingball

Where are all of the people that regularly trash all-things Atlanta Braves? What 4 or 5 hundred on the last MB blog and 6 hundred on the MB blog before that one, mostly trashing the Braves and their front office?

Come on people, they are still the same team, even if they did comeback and win last night. Don't be shy, you can still trash them.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@reckingball

Why would someone come on here and trash the team when they did what they're paid to do--WIN?!

It's poor play and loss after loss that generate criticism--as well they should--not gutsy, comeback victories.

Even you should realize that.

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@DawgNole @reckingball Plenty were here bashing the team yesterday and the day before.  However, this team has been doing what they are paid to do since Day 1--play baseball.

reckingball
reckingball

@DawgNole @reckingball Some folks just love to criticize, they seem to love it when the Braves lose, are quick to get on the blog and complain when it happens.

But, they are silent when the Braves pull off a "gutsy, comeback victory", just like you were silent, until you made this response to my comment.

It's the same team win or lose, they always look like the are trying as hard they can to win.

Even you should realize that. But probably not.

reckingball
reckingball

Those dam Braves,.......I turned the game off, after the Giants hit their last HR. Then that comeback win and I missed the whole thing.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

The team does not quit. They just don't have the talent to compete for a playoff spot.

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

Told ya, Mark-o.  Professionals do a professional job - regardless.

And even those blind squirrels.....

FalconsDetective
FalconsDetective

I have noticed many of the fans who disagree with me - like on the Tech blogs - live out of state and probably see one game a year, if that. 

Maybe they never see a game live.

Both groups of my out of state antagonists have very little skin in the game.



FalconsDetective
FalconsDetective

Garcia has now hit two game-winning homeruns in less than two weeks.

Wouldn't it have been better to see what we have with him before doing a trade that reminds me of the Cahill disaster?

The D Backs overpaid Cahill and we made a desperate move and wasted about 6 million.

Where were our scouts then?

They were dead wrong and should have been over-ruled by a GM who knows the value of a million.

The Dodgers gave up an over twenty million dollar up front payment, in a deal like the NFL does theirs, to pick what they wanted from us.

That does not sound like they were all that sold on an old, injury prone Cuban.


BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

@JacketDetective ...trading Wood created alot of sawdust which can easily catch fire and burn those(Hart and his flunky) who created that dust!..................oh and I agree with you 100% Mr. JacketDetective!

LegalBeagle3
LegalBeagle3

@JacketDetective Garcia has hit two game winning homers and SHOULD HAVE had a third when he gave us the lead with a homer in the top of the 9th last week but we couldnt hold it.

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