Atlanta Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna has been the target of criticism as he struggled at the plate. However, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Ozuna launched a home run beyond the centerfield fence. Closer Kenley Jansen locked down the victory, as Atlanta beat the Dodgers 5-3 Saturday night at Truist Park.
Pitcher Max Fried, who did not factor in the decision, pitched 6⅔ innings, giving up six hits, two earned runs, one walk while striking out nine Dodgers. A.J. Minter did get the win and Jansen notched his 20th save of the season.
“You know what you’re gonna get with them,” Fried explained. “They’ve been at the top of every standings for the last seven years, you know, they’re always gonna bring in they’re gonna they have a great chance to win that day. So you know, you have to bring your A game. Just try to go out there and compete to the best you can.”
In the bottom of the third inning, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hit a two run home run. Swanson, who is currently second in the National League in MLB All-Star Game voting at his position, hit his 14th home run of the year.
As for Ozuna, Snitker still has confidence in him, despite the flack he’s getting from portions of the fan base.
“He’s got some hits lately,” Snitker said of Ozuna. “You know, keep an inning going, to start an inning off. You know, he’s still fighting to get himself where he wants to be. He’s got some clutch hits for us.”
Mitch White was called up from the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. He allowed three runs, five hits and two walks in four innings of work.
Meanwhile, Freddie Freeman got one hit on four plate appearances. While the atmosphere was relaxed at Truist Park, the drama was building throughout the night. In the top of the seventh inning, Freeman went to the plate with the bases loaded and two out. The crowd rose as one as Braves reliever Will Smith struck Freeman out and got the Braves out of the jam. Freeman left five men on base on the night. It could’ve been one of those moments that could have left Atlanta fans bewitched once again.
“Yeah, it’s just amazing how that thing played out too,” Snitker said. “And all of a sudden here comes Freddie with the bases loaded. I mean, Will’s got some big, big, big outs for us the last few years and you know, honestly, that’s the biggest part of the game right there.”
Ronald Acuña Jr exited the game after fouling a ball off of his foot. Snitker said Acuña Jr was sore but did not believe there were broken bones of any sort. Guillermo Heredia took Acuña Jr’s place in right field.
The series finale is tomorrow night with first pitch at 7:00 PM. Braves rookie Spencer Strider will face Tony Gonosolin, who is currently 9-0 with a 1.58 ERA.