The man comes around – twice. On a Players’ Weekend where the Braves uniforms evoked the memory of Johnny Cash, Josh Donaldson led off the top of the 2nd with a home run, and repeated the feat in the 7th, leading the Braves to the series sweep. Here are the rest of Sunday afternoon’s goings down.
Dallas Keuchel was just as integral as Donaldson, throwing 7 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, and striking out 7. The Ring of Fire bullpen looks to be settling down again, although the flames went higher in the 9th when Mark Melancon allowed the run on a Pete Alonso double, a J.D. Davis 1 out single, and a Todd Frazier fielder’s choice that Donaldson and Ozzie Albies could not quite turn into 2. After a Wilson Ramos single, it looked like the Braves might need to go to Jackson or some other bullpen option, but a Joe Panik ground out allowed Melancon to record his 6th save instead.
Apart from Donaldson, Stephen Matz allowed only 1 other hit in his 6 innings; Adam Duvall‘s double accounted for 1/3 of the Braves total hits. Paul Sewald was the victim of Donaldson’s 2nd homer.
The Braves NL East lead increases to 6.5 pending the results of the Nationals game. With the 4th place Mets standing at 67 – 63, and the Nationals, Phillies, and Mets holding down 3 of the top 5 spots in the wild card race, it’s hard to say that the Braves aren’t leading the toughest division in baseball.