After being held hitless into the sixth inning, the Atlanta Braves rallied for an improbable 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on two-run homers by Travis d’Arnaud and Austin Riley and a game-ending double play for the ages to even the NL Division Series at one win apiece Monday night.
D’Arnaud, who started at catcher over slumping Sean Murphy, gave the Braves hope with his shot into the left-field seats in the seventh, cutting Philadelphia’s lead to 4-3.
It was Atlanta’s first extra-base hit of the series.
Riley provided the second, driving a 3-2 pitch from Jeff Hoffman (0-1) into the Phillies bullpen with two outs in the eighth to put the Braves ahead for the first time in the best-of-five series. Ronald Acuña Jr. scored ahead of Riley after being plunked on the left arm by Hoffman’s first pitch coming in from the bullpen.
“I just have faith in those guys,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “You know what? They give you a hard 27 (outs). … They’re never going to stop fighting in the batter’s box.”
It ended in equally stunning fashion. With Bryce Harper aboard, Nick Castellanos drove one to the fence in deep right-center, only to be robbed on a great leaping catch by Michael Harris II.
Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II (23) catches a fly ball off the bat of Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos (8) in the nineth inning of Game 2 of a baseball NL Division Series, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves won 5-4. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Harper had rounded second base when Harris made the grab. He backtracked desperately, and the throw back to the infield skidded past second baseman Ozzie Albies. But Riley alertly backed up the play and zipped a throw to first that completed the double play.
Just like that, the series is all tied up. Game 3 is Wednesday at Philadelphia.