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Snitker signs two-year extension with Braves

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- A little more than a year after being introduced to one another, Braves manager Brian Snitker and general manager Alex Anthopoulos have formed a strong bond that they will have a chance to strengthen over the next couple of seasons.

Snitker's long history with the organization was extended on Monday morning when the Braves signed him to a two-year contract that includes an option for the 2021 season. The 62-year-old baseball lifer believes this is just the second multi-year deal he has had since joining Atlanta's organization in 1977.

ATLANTA -- A little more than a year after being introduced to one another, Braves manager Brian Snitker and general manager Alex Anthopoulos have formed a strong bond that they will have a chance to strengthen over the next couple of seasons.

Snitker's long history with the organization was extended on Monday morning when the Braves signed him to a two-year contract that includes an option for the 2021 season. The 62-year-old baseball lifer believes this is just the second multi-year deal he has had since joining Atlanta's organization in 1977.

"It feels good," Snitker said. "It does give you a sense of accomplishment. I feel good really good about having an opportunity to stay around here longer and be a part of it. I really like where we're going. The front office and the organization is really solid again. It has that vibe of what I remember from years ago."

Snitker will return next year to begin his fourth season (third full season) as the Braves' manager. Many of the same players that captured this year's National League East title will be back. The only alteration to the coaching staff was made Friday, when the Braves announced that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez would not return.

Anthopoulos has not yet specifically targeted anyone to potentially fill the pitching coach vacancy. He looks forward to conducting a widespread search. Internal candidates include bullpen coach Marty Reed, director of player development Dom Chiti and director of pitching Dave Wallace.

"We had a good year on the mound," Anthopoulos said, "but we did want to open it up directionally and change some things."

Partly out of respect for Hernandez, who may fill another role within the organization, Anthopoulos chose not to specify what he meant by "directionally." But it's believed the Braves will now be looking for a pitching coach who can more capably digest and properly communicate the potential game plan data provided by the analytics department.

Though he admits he is not necessarily sure exactly what a simple metric like BABIP (batting average on balls in play) stands for, Snitker did not allow himself to be overwhelmed by the much more aggressive analytical approach to which he was introduced after Anthopoulos was hired in November.

More importantly, Snitker quickly realized the benefits of analytics, especially as it applied to defensive positioning and certain in-game matchups. Catching coach Sal Fasano and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer already had a strong understanding of analytics. Consequently, they proved instrumental in conveying the proper message to the players.

"You never stop learning and you never stop growing," Snitker said. "You're going to experience something every day that you haven't before. I think the longer you're in it -- if you're open and you experience that -- you're going to continue to grow."

Video: Snitker signs two-year extension with Braves

Given Snitker became a top National League Manager of the Year candidate after helping the Braves follow three consecutive 90-loss seasons with this year's 90-win campaign, there was little reason to doubt he'd be given this contract extension.

On the way to guiding the Braves to a National League East title, Snitker impressed Anthopoulos with his willingness to occasionally show tough love and convey tough messages, like the one he delivered in May, when he informed Nick Markakis it was in the team's best defensive interest for him to transition to left field during a series at Fenway Park.

Ender Inciarte was removed from a game in Milwaukee because he did not hustle out of the batter's box on a ball that unexpectedly fell fair along the left field foul line. Two weeks later, the Gold Glove center fielder was briefly benched against left-handed starting pitchers.

But Inciarte remained one of the many players within the Braves clubhouse who have praised the leadership Snitker has shown since becoming the team's interim manager six weeks into the 2016 season.

"By the end of the season, Ender Inciarte is in [Snitker's] office telling him how great he is and how much he respects him," Anthopoulos said. "That's a hard thing to do: to be able to manage and to be able to handle those things."

Along with evaluating the team's success and what occurred during games, Anthopoulos kept tabs on how Snitker spent this year interacting with the players, coaches, executives and support staff. A combination of the collected data led him to determine he already had the right man in place to guide the Braves to the next level.

"I don't know of any manager that would go through six months and 162 games without someone complaining about some decision made in a game," Anthopoulos said. "It's just the reality. I think other things like communication and respect are the most important components."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves

Every club's best individual playoff performance

From MadBum to Mr. October, these runs went down in franchise lore
MLB.com @williamfleitch

One of the many joys of baseball's postseason is how one player can make such an outsized difference. There's no better time for a player to go on a hot streak than in the playoffs, when he's able to carry his team for a whole series -- maybe even to a championship. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, of zeniths and nadirs, and everyone wants to break out and have a heater in October.

With that in mind, we look at the greatest postseason runs by a player on each of baseball's 30 teams. These are the sort of streaks that make legends in their hometowns ... the sort of runs we'll talk about forever.

One of the many joys of baseball's postseason is how one player can make such an outsized difference. There's no better time for a player to go on a hot streak than in the playoffs, when he's able to carry his team for a whole series -- maybe even to a championship. Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, of zeniths and nadirs, and everyone wants to break out and have a heater in October.

With that in mind, we look at the greatest postseason runs by a player on each of baseball's 30 teams. These are the sort of streaks that make legends in their hometowns ... the sort of runs we'll talk about forever.

Note: We're sticking to the divisional era here, which goes back to 1969, and is the dawn of the modern postseason.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Paul Molitor, 1993
.447/.527/.851, World Series MVP
Everyone remembers the Joe Carter homer, but Molitor was a monster that whole postseason for the Blue Jays at the age of 37. He was terrific back in 1982 for the Brewers, too.

Orioles: Brooks Robinson, 1970
.485/.471/.788, World Series MVP
This was, of course, the same World Series in which he made the ridiculous play at third base … though with Robinson, it's always a question of which ridiculous play.

Video: #WeKnowPostseason: Robinson's Play

Rays: James Shields, 2008
2-2, 25 IP, 2.88 ERA
This is where the "Big Game James" nickname came from, even if it maybe lasted a year or two longer than it should have.

Red Sox: David Ortiz, 2004
.400/.515/.764, ALCS MVP
It's rather difficult, all told, to figure out which Ortiz postseason to pick: He had an OPS over 1.204 in October for all three of the Red Sox championship teams he played for.

Video: 2004 ALCS Gm7: Ortiz's homer gives Red Sox early lead

Yankees: Reggie Jackson, 1978
.417/.511/.806
The highest qualified OPS by Yankees are, in fact, 2018 Aaron Judge and 2006 Derek Jeter ... but how do you not pick Mr. October?

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Orel Hershiser, 1995
4-1, 35 1/3 IP, 1.53 ERA, ALCS MVP
The season with the other Indians' World Series loss -- no, the other one -- featured vintage Hershiser ... and he split a couple of duels with Greg Maddux in the World Series, too.

Royals: Danny Jackson, 1985
2-1, 26 IP, 1.04 ERA
Bret Saberhagen is remembered as the hero of this Royals team -- along with Don Denkinger, of course -- but Jackson was actually the best pitcher for the Royals that postseason.

Tigers: Alan Trammell, 1984
.419/.500/.806, World Series MVP
Trammell put the perfect capper on the Tigers' dream season. This was a quiet argument for Trammell's Hall of Fame candidacy.

Twins: Jack Morris, 1991
4-0, 36 1/3 IP, 2.23 ERA, World Series MVP
Speaking of the Hall of Fame ... this postseason is almost certainly why Morris currently has a plaque in Cooperstown.

Video: 1991 WS Gm7: Morris' 10-inning shutout

White Sox: Jermaine Dye, 2005
.311/.415/.444, World Series MVP
Several White Sox players had a higher OPS than Dye that postseason -- including Joe Crede, Scott Podsednik and Paul Konerko -- but you've got to go with the World Series MVP.

AL WEST

Angels: Francisco Rodriguez, 2002
5-1, 18 2/3 IP, 1.93 ERA
Back when there were more rigid bullpen roles, K-Rod was deployed liberally and devastatingly in 2002, back when he was 20 years old.

Astros: Carlos Beltran, 2004
.435/.536/1.022
Cardinals fans will be having nightmares about 2004 Carlos Beltran for decades to come ... and they won that series.

Video: 2004 NLCS Gm4: Beltran hits eighth homer of playoffs

Athletics: Dave Stewart, 1989
4-0, 32 IP, 2.25 ERA, World Series MVP
Stewart had a career 2.77 postseason ERA in 133 innings ... he would actually win the ALCS MVP the very next season, too.

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr., 1995
.364/.442/.818
Jay Buhner was just as good as The Kid in 1995 ... but Griffey is Griffey.

Rangers: Juan Gonzalez, 1996
.438/.526/1.375
The Rangers actually lost this Division Series in four games, but good heavens, was Juan Gone ever a monster, hitting five homers in four games.

Video: 1996 ALDS Gm4: Juan Gonzalez's fifth home run of ALDS

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: John Smoltz, 1996
4-1, 38 IP, 0.95 ERA
You could also go with Greg Maddux's 1995 run -- since the Braves won the World Series that year, after all -- and you wouldn't be wrong.

Marlins: Josh Beckett, 2003
2-2, 42 2/3 IP, 2.11 ERA, World Series MVP
After the Yankees and Red Sox had their first of two epic postseason battles, Beckett was happy to pick up the pieces in the World Series.

Video: WS Gm6: Beckett shuts out Yanks as Marlins win series

Mets: Bobby Ojeda, 1986
2-0, 27 IP, 2.33 ERA
Of all the great Mets starters on that team, it was Ojeda who had the best postseason.

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, 2017
1-1, 14 IP, 0.00 ERA
Since we're excluding the Expos -- if we weren't, Steve Rogers in 1981 would be the obvious answer here -- we must dig into the gruesome land of the Nationals' postseason failures. Strasburg has the ultimate Nationals playoff line: 0 earned runs, 1 loss.

Video: WSH@CHC Gm4: Strasburg K's 12 over seven scoreless

Phillies: Cliff Lee, 2009
4-0, 40 1/3 IP, 1.56 ERA
Cole Hamels had the World Series MVP in '08, but Lee was actually better, in five more innings.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Ryan Braun, 2011
.405/.468/.714
This postseason performance feels like a lifetime ago, but it's one the Brewers sure would appreciate a repeat of.

Cardinals: David Freese, 2011
.397/.465/.794, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
Freese actually struggled in the NLDS this season ... though he ended up making up for it.

Video: Must C Comeback: Freese's triple ties it up in ninth

Cubs: Jon Lester, 2016
3-1, 35 2/3 IP, 2.02 ERA, NLCS co-MVP
Lester still feels like the postseason starter Cubs fans trust most, and probably always will.

Pirates: Willie Stargell, 1979
.415/.435/.927, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
He also shared the regular-season MVP Award this year, pulling off the rare trifecta.

Reds: Johnny Bench, 1976
.444/.464/.926, World Series MVP
Bench was as dominant as the Reds were in this matter-of-fact World Series sweep.

NL WEST

D-backs: Curt Schilling, 2001
4-0, 48 1/3 IP, 1.12 ERA, World Series co-MVP
Randy Johnson's line this exact 2001 postseason: 5-1, 41 1/3 IP, 1.52 ERA. That is ... difficult to beat.

Video: WS2001 Gm4: Schilling comes up clutch on short rest

Dodgers: Hershiser, 1988
3-0, 1 SV, 42 2/3 IP, 1.05 ERA, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
Hershiser is the only pitcher to be on this list twice ... and how could he not be?

Giants: Madison Bumgarner, 2014
4-1, 1 SV, 52 2/3 IP, 1.03 ERA, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP
This is an obvious pick, but at this point I'd like to remind you that Barry Bonds put up a .356/.581/.978 in 2002.

Video: WS2014 Gm7: Bumgarner sets postseason innings record

Padres: Sterling Hitchcock, 1998
3-0, 22 IP, 1.23 ERA, NLCS MVP
He gave up only one earned run in six innings in his lone World Series start ... not that it did the Padres much good.

Rockies: Kaz Matsui, 2007
.304/.347/.500
It was a strange postseason for the Rockies in 2007, but if you forget the World Series happened altogether, it was a glorious one.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Pipeline names Braves' Prospects of the Year

RHP Toussaint, third baseman Riley selected for honor
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Though the Braves introduced Ronald Acuna Jr. and many of their top pitching prospects to the Major League level this year, they still have an impressive farm system that was enriched this year by the progress made by both third baseman Austin Riley and right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint.

MLB Pipeline has named Riley the Braves' Player of the Year and Toussaint the club's Pitcher of the Year. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

ATLANTA -- Though the Braves introduced Ronald Acuna Jr. and many of their top pitching prospects to the Major League level this year, they still have an impressive farm system that was enriched this year by the progress made by both third baseman Austin Riley and right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint.

MLB Pipeline has named Riley the Braves' Player of the Year and Toussaint the club's Pitcher of the Year. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Riley ranks as baseball's 43rd-best prospect, the game's No. 3 third-base prospect and the fifth-best prospect within Atlanta's system, per MLB Pipeline. Toussaint ranks as the 40th-best overall prospect and the Braves' fourth-best prospect.

Toussaint began this season with Double-A Mississippi and ended it as part of the bullpen Atlanta used against the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The 22-year-old right-hander still has some control issues. But the high walk rate he produced (6.5 walks per nine innings) he produced at the Major League level was about double what he constructed as he posted a 2.38 ERA over 136 1/3 innings for Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett this year.

Video: STL@ATL: Toussaint K's 8 in pivotal game vs. Cards

Because he did not begin pitching on a regular basis until he was 15 years old, there's still seemingly plenty of potential growth for Toussaint, who produced a 4.03 ERA over seven appearances (five starts) for Atlanta this year. He allowed one run over six innings when he made his Major League debut against the Marlins on Aug. 13. The Braves brought him back to the Majors a month later and allowed him to serve as their sixth starter throughout September.

Riley also started this season for Mississippi and might have reached the Majors had he not missed nearly all of June with a sprained right knee. The big third baseman combined to hit .294 with 19 homers and an .882 OPS with Mississippi and Gwinnett.

Video: Top Prospects: Austin Riley, 3B, Braves

Even though Johan Camargo enjoyed a successful season for Atlanta, there's still a chance Riley proves to be the club's third baseman of the future. The 21-year-old slugger has legitimate power potential, but there are concerns about the .297 strikeout percentage he had this year.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Touki Toussaint

Freddie Freeman's young son can rake off a tee

Freddie Freeman finished his season with a third All-Star selection, slashing .309/.388/.505 with 23 home runs and 98 RBIs. So we know he did well, but just how well did his son Charlie do? Well, take a look at this clip:

Braves fan gets tattoo of Acuna's face after slam

Though the Braves lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS, their Game 3 win provided one of the most exciting moments of the postseason when rookie sensation Ronald Acuna Jr. gave the team a 5-0 lead with his second-inning grand slam. 

At the time, one Braves fan decided to make the stakes of Acuña's bases-loaded at-bat just a little bit higher by promising to get a tattoo if he hit a grand slam:  

Here's what Braves did in the AFL on Thursday

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Thursday:

Gameday: Surprise 10, Glendale 9 | Salt River 7, Scottsdale 6 | Mesa 10, Peoria 9

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Thursday:

Gameday: Surprise 10, Glendale 9 | Salt River 7, Scottsdale 6 | Mesa 10, Peoria 9

AL East

Blue Jays
Blue Jays No. 9 prospect Cavan Biggio went 0-for-2, but walked four times and drove in a run. Right-hander Zach Jackson recorded four strikeouts while allowing one hit in 1 1/3 innings of relief for Surprise.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

Orioles
Orioles No. 12 prospect Ryan McKenna went 2-for-4 with two runs and a walk out of the leadoff spot for Glendale. One of the hits was a double, McKenna's second extra-base hit in as many games after he tripled on Wednesday. Starter Chris Lee gave up one hit over two scoreless innings, while righty Jay Flaa worked 1 1/3 scoreless frames despite issuing four walks. Tyler Erwin also struggled with his control as he allowed one earned run on three walks and two hit batsmen.

Rays
Shortstop Lucius Fox, the Rays' No. 9 prospect, connected on a three-run home run in the eighth inning en route to his second straight two-hit game for Peoria. He scored two runs, walked once and stole a base, finishing 2-for-4. Joe McCarthy (No. 17) also reached base twice, going 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. On the mound, right-hander Phoenix Sanders allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits, two walks and two balks in 1 1/3 innings, while Brandon Lawson took the loss after giving up a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning.

Red Sox
Esteban Quiroz put Mesa on the board with a third-inning solo homer and reached base five times, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored, three walks and an RBI. Mike Shawaryn, Boston's No. 9 prospect, tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings in relief.

Yankees
Steven Sensley plated a pair of runs with a double and finished 2-for-5 for Glendale. Hobie Harris posted 2 1/3 innings of one-run ball in relief, while Matt Wivinis recorded an out late in the game.

AL Central

Indians
Indians No. 6 prospect Yu Chang went 1-for-5 and logged his second start at third base for Glendale. Hard-throwing righty Dalbert Siri scuffled in relief, allowing three earned runs on three hits and a walk in one inning.

Royals
Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two walks and a stolen base from the bottom of Surprise's lineup. Catcher Meibrys Viloria also made an impact with a 1-for-4 performance that included a two-run double and two walks. Grant Gavin recorded the save despite allowing an unearned run on one hit.

Tigers
Daniel Pinero and Daniel Woodrow each collected two hits, an RBI and a steal for Mesa. Eduardo Jimenez was sharp in relief, striking out a pair of hitters over two perfect frames, though Tigers No. 26 prospect Sandy Baez was hammered for five earned runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Twins
Twins No. 19 prospect Luke Raley went 0-for-4, but walked twice and scored a run for Salt River. Hector Lujan gave up three runs and retired only two hitters. Jaylin Davis went 2-for-5. Adam Bray picked up the win for Salt River with two hitless innings.

White Sox
White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert (No. 44 overall) went 2-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. He's hit safely in all three games so far for Glendale. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe (No. 9) and shortstop Laz Rivera (No. 28) each drew a walk, but collectively finished 0-for-7. More »

AL West

A's
Outfielder Luis Barrera scored the walk-off run in the 10th for Mesa to cap a 1-for-4 game in which he scored two runs, walked twice and stole a base. Right-hander Calvin Coker retired all four batters he faced in relief, striking out one.

Angels
Brett Hanewich pitched around a pair of walks as he struck out the side in the 10th to earn his second win in as many outings for Mesa.

Astros
Astros No. 8 prospect J.B. Bukauskas threw 3 1/3 innings in a start for Scottsdale. The right-hander yielded one unearned run that scored on a passed ball, but was lights-out otherwise. He gave up three hits, struck out five and walked one. Abraham Toro-Hernandez (No. 21) went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Trent Thornton (No. 24) followed Bukauskas and gave up two runs on two hits. Ronnie Dawson went 0-for-3, but walked three times. Erasmo Pinales gave up two hits but also struck out two in a scoreless frame.

Mariners
Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White has five RBIs through two games after his 1-for-3, three-RBI game for Peoria. Chris Mariscal also had a solid game, going 2-for-4 with two runs, while Matt Walker worked an inning in relief.

Rangers
Third baseman Charles Leblanc tallied two hits and two walks out of the No. 3 spot in Surprise's lineup. Starter Tai Tiedemann and reliever Joe Barlow both struggled as they allowed a combined eight earned runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. Rangers No. 15 prospect C.D. Pelham tossed a scoreless inning to earn the win.

NL East

Braves
Braves No. 6 prospect Christian Pache (No. 66 overall) went 1-for-5, but also grounded into a pair of double plays, while outfielder Izzy Wilson scored a run from the No. 2 spot in Peoria's lineup. Jeremy Walker was effective as he completed three innings of one-run ball in his first AFL start. He was relieved by Braves No. 12 prospect Kyle Muller, who struck out a pair but allowed one run on two hits and two walks in one inning.

Marlins
Marlins No. 16 prospect Jordan Yamamoto was impressive in his start for Salt River. The right-hander racked up five strikeouts, including each of the final two batters he faced, over three scoreless innings. Kyle Keller followed Yamamoto and gave up two runs -- via a two-run homer -- in 1 1/3 innings. Chad Smith was the third Marlins farmhand to toe the rubber, and he cruised through 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He issued one walk and didn't give up a hit. Tommy Eveld put together a scoreless outing as he threw 1 1/3 innings. Brian Miller (No. 11) was inserted as a pinch-runner. Bryson Brigman (No. 26) went 1-for-4.

Mets
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso turned in a multi-hit effort for the third straight day for Scottsdale. After his 2-for-4 night, Alonso is 7-for-12 through three games. Joe Zanghi cruised through his one inning on the mound, yielding one hit in a scoreless frame. Andres Gimenez (No. 1) entered the game as a pinch-runner and drew a walk in his only plate appearance. Ali Sanchez (No. 25) went 0-for-1. Gerson Bautista gave up one hit over two scoreless innings, and Matt Blackham took the loss after he gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the 11th.

Nationals
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom picked up a pair of hits, including a triple, and scored a run as part of his 2-for-6 night for Salt River. Daniel Johnson (No. 10) went 1-for-5.

Phillies
For Scottsdale, Darick Hall went 2-for-5, including a two-run homer, his first long ball of the Fall League.

NL Central

Brewers
Catcher Mario Feliciano, Milwaukee's No. 23 prospect, went 1-for-3 with an RBI, two runs scored and two walks in his first AFL game. Weston Wilson went 1-for-5 with an RBI double, but also committed two errors at third base.

Cardinals
Tommy Edman was a catalyst out of the leadoff spot for Surprise with his 2-for-4, three-walk performance. He also drove in a run, scored once and swiped a pair of bases. Jeremy Martinez also tallied a hit, while Lane Thomas reached base on a pair of walks.

Cubs
Cubs No. 29 prospect Trent Giambrone paced Mesa's offense as he went 4-for-6 with two RBIs and one run scored. 2018 first-rounder Nico Hoerner (No. 6) went 0-for-5, but picked up an RBI in his second Fall League contest. PJ Higgins didn't collect a hit, but drove in a run and walked twice. Starting pitcher Justin Steele (No. 8) was tagged for four earned runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings, while lefty Manuel Rondon permitted one walk over two hitless frames in relief.

Pirates
Pirates No. 5 prospect Cole Tucker drove in three runs and stole two bases in a 2-for-5 showing for Surprise. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) also collected two hits, going 2-for-5 with two runs, while Will Craig (No. 16) scored a run after entering as a pinch-hitter.

Reds
Reds No. 3 prospect Taylor Trammell went 1-for-5 for Scottsdale. Shed Long (No. 8) picked up a hit as a pinch-hitter, while Alfredo Rodriguez (No. 23) went 2-for-4.

NL West

D-backs
D-backs No. 4 prospect Pavin Smith came through with an RBI single as part of a 1-for-4 night for Salt River. Daulton Varsho (No. 5) went 1-for-4 with an RBI and Drew Ellis (No. 9) went 1-for-5 with a two-run homer.

Dodgers
Dodgers No. 2 prospect Keibert Ruiz (No. 39 overall) went 1-for-3 with two walks and an RBI for Glendale. Errol Robinson (No. 20) also had a strong game, going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a stolen base, while designated hitter Cody Thomas contributed by scoring one run. On the mound, relievers Nolan Long and Andre Scrubb allowed a combined five runs (three earned) on three hits and three walks.

Giants
Giants No. 10 prospect Heath Quinn went 0-for-5 for Scottsdale. C.J. Hinojosa (No. 28) went 0-for-6. Chase Johnson gave up three runs on three hits in one inning. Matt Winn went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.

Padres
Padres No. 13 prospect Buddy Reed went 1-for-5 and scored a run for Peoria. Left-hander Travis Radke recorded three strikeouts and three walks as he allowed an unearned run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Rockies
Rockies No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin reached base four times (3-for-5 with a walk) and drove in a run for Salt River. Justin Lawrence (No. 17) gave up one unearned run in one inning, but he avoided a big inning by inducing a 1-2-3 double play when he was stuck in a bases-loaded, no-outs jam. Josh Fuentes was inserted into the game as a pinch-runner.

Braves' greatest postseason moment: '95 Series

The most memorable October event of the divisional era for every club
MLB.com @williamfleitch

There are just four teams remaining in this year's postseason, but every fan, even those of the Mariners (the team with the longest postseason drought, now up to 17 seasons), can relate to what it feels like to be in the playoffs. The late nights, the constant tension, the stakes so high you can barely breathe ... and when something wonderful happens, the release and the pure, unbridled jubilation.

With that in mind, we take a look at the greatest postseason moments of the division era. Even if your team isn't a postseason team, you can remember your great October moments … and if it is, you can dream of maybe having another one this month that's even better.

There are just four teams remaining in this year's postseason, but every fan, even those of the Mariners (the team with the longest postseason drought, now up to 17 seasons), can relate to what it feels like to be in the playoffs. The late nights, the constant tension, the stakes so high you can barely breathe ... and when something wonderful happens, the release and the pure, unbridled jubilation.

With that in mind, we take a look at the greatest postseason moments of the division era. Even if your team isn't a postseason team, you can remember your great October moments … and if it is, you can dream of maybe having another one this month that's even better.

(For the purpose of this exercise, we are going back to 1969, which is the start of divisional play and the birth of the postseason as we know it.)

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Joe Carter's World Series walk-off, Oct. 23, 1993
The Blue Jays might not have that many postseason moments, but the greatness of this one more than makes up for that. Runner-up: Jose Bautista's ALDS Game 5 bat flip, Oct. 14, 2015.

Video: 93 WS, GM 6, PHI@TOR: Joe Carter touches them all

Orioles: Brooks Robinson's incredible play, 1970 World Series, Oct. 10, 1970
The best part about this play, which might be the greatest defensive play in World Series history, is how surprised the umpire looks. Even he can't believe what he just saw. Runner-up: David McNally's grand slam, World Series Game 3, Oct. 13, 1970.

Rays: First and only World Series trip clinched, Oct. 19, 2008
A decade ago, and still pretty jaw-dropping that all this happened. Runner-up: Grant Balfour strikes out Ken Griffey Jr. to clinch the first ALDS victory, Oct. 6, 2008.

Red Sox: First World Series title since 1918, Oct. 27, 2004
You might remember when this happened. (It's when lifelong Red Sox fans Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore got on television.) Runner-up: David Ortiz's ALCS grand slam vs. the Tigers sent a cop joyous in the bullpen and turns the series around on Oct. 13, 2013.

Video: Must C Classic: Red Sox win first WS since 1918

Yankees: Reggie Jackson's three homers in 1977 World Series
There's a reason no one else gets to be called "Mr. October." Runner-up: Mr. November -- Derek Jeter's World Series Game 5 walk-off homer on Nov. 1, 2001.

Video: 1977 WS Gm6: Reggie becomes Mr. October

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Eddie Murray's walk-off, Game 3, 1995 World Series, Oct. 24, 1995
It was Cleveland's first World Series game in 41 years, and ended with a Hall of Famer sending the crowd into euphorics. Runner-up: Rajai Davis' home run off Aroldis Chapman, 2016 World Series, Nov. 2, 2016

Royals: Royals win 2015 World Series, Nov. 1, 2015
It was a magical season and a magical World Series that just seems more improbable each year that goes by. Runner-up: The Don Denkinger play, and aftermath, 1985 World Series, Oct. 26, 1985.

Tigers: Magglio Ordonez sends Tigers to World Series, Oct. 14, 2006
The sounds that crowd makes the minute the bat meets the ball still gives you chills 12 years later. Runner-up: Kirk Gibson's Game 5 homer, 1984 World Series.

Twins: Kirby Puckett's Game 6 walk-off, 1991 World Series, Oct. 26, 1991
The original "We Will See You Tomorrow Night." Runner-up: Twins win 1987 World Series, their first in Minnesota, Oct. 25, 1987.

Video: Must C Classic: Puckett crushes a walk-off homer

White Sox: White Sox win 2005 World Series, Oct. 26, 2015
A game that was razor-tight, in a series that was much closer than anyone remembers. Runner-up: Scott Podsednik's Game 2 walk-off, Oct. 23, 2015.

AL WEST

Angels: Scott Spiezio's homer, Game 6, 2002 World Series, Oct. 26, 2002
The most Rally Monkey of all the Rally Monkey moments, his three-run clout cued the rally from a 5-0 deficit. Runner-up: Troy Percival gets last out to win 2002 World Series, Oct. 27, 2002.

Astros: Charlie Morton finishes the Dodgers off, 2017 World Series, Nov. 1, 2017
This was so long ago you might not remember it, but trust me, it was wonderful. Runner-up: Chris Burke sends everybody home after 18 innings, 2005 NLDS.

Video: WS2017 Gm7: Morton induces groundout to close out WS

Athletics: Eck closes out the 1989 World Series, October 28, 1989
When in doubt, go with the Hall of Famer closing out a series for an all-time great team. Runner-up: Joe Rudi's amazing catch, World Series Game 2, Oct. 14, 1973.

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. slides home to win the 1995 ALDS, Oct. 8, 1995
Basically, everything wonderful about the history of Mariners baseball, happening in one play. Runner-up: Mariners win most recent postseason series, 2001 ALDS over Cleveland.

Video: Griffey slides home to clinch the ALDS in 1995

Rangers: Neftali Feliz sends Texas to its first World Series, 2010 ALCS, Oct. 22, 2010
Over the hated Yankees, no less. Runner-up: Josh Hamilton's 2011 World Series Game 6 homer, which was this close to being one of the greatest baseball moments of recent memory.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Only World Series win in Atlanta, Oct. 28, 1995
It still seems amazing that this is the only one they ever got. Runner-up: The Sid Bream Slide, Oct. 14, 1992.

Marlins: Edgar Renteria's walk-off to win 1997 World Series, Oct. 26, 1997
Poor Cleveland. Runner-up: The Bartman play, and all that followed, 2003 NLCS.

Video: WS1997 Gm7: Fish win first WS on Renteria's walk-off

Mets: Mookie Wilson reaches base, Ray Knight scores, Mets win on Bill Buckner's error, Game 6, 1986 World Series, Oct. 25, 1986
A Mets comeback for the ages. Runner-up: Miracle Mets win 1969 World Series.

Video: 1986 World Series, Game 6: Red Sox at Mets

Nationals: Jayson Werth's 2012 NLDS walk-off, Oct. 11, 2012
After this, the Nats lost the series. But for the moment, it was great. Runner-up: Strasburg fans 12 to extend last year's NLDS.

Phillies: Brad Lidge gets the last out of a long game, 2008 World Series, Oct. 27, 2008
It took a couple of days for this game to actually finish, but no Phillies fan would ever complain. Runner-up: Roy Halladay's no-hitter, 2010 NLDS against Cincinnati.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Paul Molitor's inside-the-park homer, 1982 ALCS, Oct. 6, 1982
Runner-up: Nyjer Morgan's walk-off over Arizona in 2011 NLDS, particularly when called by Bob Uecker.

Cardinals: David Freese's triple to tie 2011 World Series Game 6, Oct. 27, 2011
The walk-off homer in the 11th gets more air time, but this was truly one of the most insane hits in World Series history. Runner-up: Ozzie Smith's 1985 NLCS homer off Tom Niedenfuer, the "Go Crazy, Folks" moment.

Video: WS2011 Gm6: Freese saves the Cards with a huge triple

Cubs: History in 2016
This was … not a tough call. Runner-up: Kyle Schwarber's shot atop the Wrigley scoreboard, Game 4, 2015 NLDS.

Video: Cubs win first World Series title in 108 years

Pirates: Willie Stargell's homer, 1979 World Series, Game 7, Oct. 17, 1979
And to do it in such beautiful threadsRunner-up: Pirates fans scare Johnny Cueto into dropping the ball, 2013 NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park.

Reds: Big Red Machine wins a Fall Classic for the ages, Oct. 22, 1975
It's only East Coast Bias that makes you think of Carlton Fisk when you think of this series. Runner-up: Reds sweep heavily favored A's in 1990 World Series.

NL WEST

D-backs: Luis Gonzalez off Mariano Rivera, 2001 World Series, Nov. 4, 2001
Ah, the perils of playing the infield in … Runner-up: Tony Womack's hit in 2001 NLDS.

Video: Must C Classic: Gonzalez walks off, wins World Series

Dodgers: Kirk Gibson pulls himself around the bases, 1988 World Series
Runner-up: Juan Uribe's 2013 go-ahead homer in Game 4 NLDS against Atlanta.

Video: Must C Classic: Gibson's 1988 WS walk-off home run

Giants: First World Series win in San Francisco, 2010 World Series, Nov. 1, 2010
Edgar Renteria hit .412 with two homers and six RBIs and the city got its first celebration. Runner-up: Madison Bumgarner's dominance in 2014 World Series.

Padres: Tony Gwynn's bad hop double, 1984 NLCS, Game 5, Oct. 7, 1984
The biggest hit of Gwynn's career was a bizarre one, but it got the job done. Runner-up: Padres finish off Braves to win 1998 NLCS.

Rockies: The Holliday slide, Oct. 1, 2007
He touched the plate … well, eventually. Maybe not technically the postseason either, but it came after Game 162. Runner-up: Rockies sweep D-backs to reach 2007 World Series.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Braves' ahead-of-schedule run ends in Gm 4

Unable to corral Dodgers, young ballclub looks to bright future
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- These past five days did not erase all of the optimism and excitement created during the previous six months. But they did provide a clear indication the Braves haven't quite reached the point where they are capable of competing for a World Series title.

A memorable season that exceeded all expectations concluded Monday evening when the Braves lost, 6-2, to the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series. The exchange of hugs and goodbyes came earlier than desired and later than anyone expected when this season began with moderate expectations.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- These past five days did not erase all of the optimism and excitement created during the previous six months. But they did provide a clear indication the Braves haven't quite reached the point where they are capable of competing for a World Series title.

A memorable season that exceeded all expectations concluded Monday evening when the Braves lost, 6-2, to the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series. The exchange of hugs and goodbyes came earlier than desired and later than anyone expected when this season began with moderate expectations.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

"The only thing that will make me happy is winning the World Series," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "That's all you've got to do. I'll take this as a start, winning the division in 2018. But we need to do more next year."

Though the ouster from the postseason brought sadness, Nick Markakis addressed his Braves teammates after the game and expressed how proud he was to have been part of this team. Markakis and Freeman were present for the three consecutive 90-loss seasons that made this year's accomplishments seem improbable.

"Not many guys get to play in the postseason their first year in the big leagues," Markakis said. "They've got experience. They know what it's about now. The experience will pay off in the long run for them."

One of the benefactors of this postseason run could be Mike Foltynewicz, who blossomed into an All-Star this season and then was humbled while lasting just two innings in Game 1. He was given a chance to redeem himself in this final game and walked away satisfied with a four-inning effort that was abbreviated by the need for a pinch-hitter.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Foltynewicz on Braves' loss, elimination

The lone run he surrendered came courtesy of a Manny Machado RBI double that followed Max Muncy drawing a walk --- one of 27 free passes Atlanta's pitchers issued over 34 innings.

Conversely, the Dodgers' pitching staff issued just nine walks while limiting the Braves to a .154 batting average and .218 on-base percentage.

"We have the right team here," Foltynewicz said. "We just walked a few too many people and gave up a few too many bases. That hurt us, especially against that kind of lineup where one through nine can put it out of the park or put it in the gap."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Snitker on gaining playoff experience

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos deserves to be lauded for his first year on the job. Limited financially and wary of being overly aggressive at this stage of the rebuild, he upgraded the pitching staff with the in-season acquisitions of Kevin Gausman, Jonny Venters and Brad Brach. The deep-pocket Dodgers added Machado and David Freese to a lineup that already included Justin Turner and breakout sensation Muncy.

After Gausman was used as a reliever in Atlanta's Game 3 victory, Brach surrendered the series' decisive hit -- Freese's two-run single that eluded diving shortstop Charlie Culberson, who was pressed into a starting role when Dansby Swanson tore a ligament in his left hand during the regular season's final week.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Freese plates 2 on pinch-hit single

Culberson understood what it felt like to be on the other side. He helped the Dodgers reach the World Series last year while filling in for the injured Corey Seager.

"I hope everyone understands what it feels like to get here and also what it feels like to lose," Culberson said. "Sitting on the bench after the game watching [the Dodgers] somewhat celebrate, they didn't really do a whole lot of celebrating because I feel like they knew they were going to beat us and they played better baseball than us."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Freeman on Braves' elimination, future

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Working with a bullpen fatigued during Sunday night's win and dealing with the consequences of successfully pinch-hitting for Foltynewicz in the fourth, the Braves wanted Venters to complete two innings for the first time in more than six years. The aggressive plan might have worked had Ozzie Albies made a more aggressive effort to get to Yasiel Puig's blooper that fell in shallow right field in the sixth.

"The ball fell, we couldn't do anything," Albies said. "[Markakis] went for it and I went for it. We didn't get to it. That's it."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Puig skies a bloop single to right field

Puig's two-out bloop single set the stage for Freese to follow with a go-ahead two-run single off Brach, who was the last reliever placed on Atlanta's NLDS roster. Freese entered 2-for-6 with two homers against Brach. Had the pitcher's spot not been due up second in the bottom half of the inning, the decision might have been to call upon rookie Chad Sobotka, who was humbled in the seventh by Machado's three-run homer.

"Ozzie was coming out and the way [Puig] hit it, it was slicing and it just kept pushing away from me," Markakis said. "I knew it was going to be in that area. It was just a matter of one of us getting there."

Markakis had to go 119 feet and had just a 1 percent catch probability. Albies would have had to travel 80 feet to get it.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Acuna Jr. on Braves' loss, elimination

BRIEF LEAD
Foltynewicz yielded Machado's first-inning RBI double, then pitched around potential trouble in each of the three innings that followed. The decision to limit him to four innings was made after Rich Hill walked Johan Camargo and Tyler Flowers to begin the bottom of the fourth.

Ender Inciarte followed with a sacrifice bunt. After Culberson was unable to score Camargo with his one-out grounder against a drawn-in infield, Foltynewicz was replaced by pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki, who gave the Braves a 2-1 lead with a single to left.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Suzuki rips a go-ahead 2-run single

"Kurt got a big hit there, and we knew it was going to be tough to cover all the innings today with the guys that we had," Snitker said. "But just felt like we did a good job giving ourselves a chance."

RISP ISSUES
Suzuki's single was one of the two hits the Braves recorded in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position during the series. The Braves stranded two runners in the first and third innings and then left the bases loaded in the process of chasing Hill in the fifth.

With out out and the bases loaded, the Dodgers called upon Ryan Madson, who quieted the threat by getting Flowers to pop up in foul territory down the third-base line. Inciarte then hit a lazy fly that Machado gloved in shallow left.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Madson bails Dodgers out of a huge jam

HE SAID IT
"That is a powerhouse over there. They have a lot more money. But I feel like our guys with zero to two [years of experience] are ready to take the next step, and we'll be winning titles here." -- Freeman, comparing the Dodgers to the Braves

"When you experience the postseason, it's a bit of a shell-shocking experience, especially starting on the road. What these guys have learned from this year, they'll be able to use next year for sure. I see this team making the playoffs for many, many years in a row. They're only going to get better." -- Braves veteran reliever Peter Moylan

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ozzie Albies, Charlie Culberson, Mike Foltynewicz, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, Kurt Suzuki, Jonny Venters

Missed opportunities halt Braves' surprising run

2018 surpasses expectations, ends in NLDS after offense stalls
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Though overmatched by the powerful Dodgers during this year's National League Division Series, the Braves hope to benefit from the experience if they are fortunate enough to live up to their expectation to be annual postseason participants over the next few years.

"We look at this as a learning experience," Braves reliever A.J. Minter said. "You can say we weren't supposed to be here this year. But we had an awesome ballclub. It's unfortunate we came up short. We are disappointed. But I think we're all ready for Spring Training because we got a taste of it, and we want to be back here."

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ATLANTA -- Though overmatched by the powerful Dodgers during this year's National League Division Series, the Braves hope to benefit from the experience if they are fortunate enough to live up to their expectation to be annual postseason participants over the next few years.

"We look at this as a learning experience," Braves reliever A.J. Minter said. "You can say we weren't supposed to be here this year. But we had an awesome ballclub. It's unfortunate we came up short. We are disappointed. But I think we're all ready for Spring Training because we got a taste of it, and we want to be back here."

View Full Game Coverage

Atlanta's 6-2 loss in Game 4 of the National League Division Series put the Dodgers one step away from a second consecutive trip to the World Series. The Braves, meanwhile, head into the offseason hoping their 14 players who made postseason debuts during this series understand what it takes to take that next step.

"We just didn't hit in the playoffs," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "We walked a lot of guys. We didn't hit. I think we left like 10 or 12 guys on base today. I felt like we had that game right there. We just didn't capitalize on a lot of opportunities. But a lot of people got to experience their first full season. So hopefully we can build off of that."

Freeman delivered the decisive home run in Atlanta's Game 3 victory, which was highlighted by Ronald Acuna Jr.'s grand slam. Those two homers accounted for five of the eight runs the Braves totaled over 36 innings.

Video: Must C Classic: Acuna youngest to hit postseason slam

Pressed to the brink of elimination on Monday, the Braves went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and finished the series 2-for-15 in this category.

With two on and two outs in the first inning, Johan Camargo followed a walk by popping out against Rich Hill's first-pitch fastball in the heart of the strike zone. The same situation presented itself in the third when Nick Markakis popped out against a first-pitch slider that also found the middle of the plate.

Kurt Suzuki provided the Braves a 2-1 lead in Game 4 when he delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single off Hill in the fourth inning. The veteran catcher was pressed into this situation because the Braves had not yet provided support to Mike Foltynewicz, whose exit after just four innings placed more stress on a suspect bullpen.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Suzuki rips a go-ahead 2-run single

But after loading the bases and chasing Hill with one out in the fifth inning, the Braves blew a prime opportunity to blow the game open. Right-handed reliever Ryan Madson got Tyler Flowers to pop out behind the plate and then ended the threat with Ender Inciarte's lazy fly that Manny Machado gloved in shallow left field.

"We left a lot of opportunities out there today," Freeman said. "That's the frustrating part. I felt like this was our game to win right there. It just didn't happen for us."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Kurt Suzuki

Snitker expresses desire to continue with Braves

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will wait until early next week to announce his coaching staff for the 2019 season. But he and his top aides spent most of Tuesday meeting with manager Brian Snitker and the coaches who helped the team exceed all expectations on the way to winning the National League East.

"I understand you're never guaranteed tomorrow," Snitker said Tuesday afternoon. "I know I'd like to [come back]. I've enjoyed it. I loved [the players] in there and [the coaches]. I loved being around them. It's been awesome. So, I'd like to do it a few more years."

ATLANTA -- Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will wait until early next week to announce his coaching staff for the 2019 season. But he and his top aides spent most of Tuesday meeting with manager Brian Snitker and the coaches who helped the team exceed all expectations on the way to winning the National League East.

"I understand you're never guaranteed tomorrow," Snitker said Tuesday afternoon. "I know I'd like to [come back]. I've enjoyed it. I loved [the players] in there and [the coaches]. I loved being around them. It's been awesome. So, I'd like to do it a few more years."

From the time he assumed his role and began learning the organization last offseason, Anthopoulos has routinely taken a methodical approach to every decision. But the fact he wants to spend this week evaluating the staff indicates there may be a tweak or two to the coaching staff.

But there has been no reason to believe Snitker would be removed from his current role. He's a top NL Manager of the Year Award candidate, and more importantly, his ouster would prove counterproductive within a clubhouse that loves his presence as a leader.

"I love playing for Snit," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said after the Braves were eliminated from the NL Division Series on Monday in a 6-2 loss in Game 4. "He did a remarkable job. He did a remarkable job. It's really hard to handle 25 or 35 personalities. He's one of the best at it."

As Snitker spent this season being introduced to much-improved analytical approach brought to the organization by Anthopoulos, he and his boss seemed to develop a strong mutual respect.

"He's an easy guy to play for as a player, and I mean that as a compliment,' Anthopoulos said last week. "Who is ever going to complain about playing for Snit? He's fair and he's honest. No matter what manager you have, there are going to be times that fans are going to agree and disagree with moves. But that player part starts first. If they're not buying into you, you don't have a shot."

Snitker touched on a few other topics as he took a break from the meetings on Tuesday:

On what was learned from competing against the Dodgers in the NLDS
"I'm looking over [at the Dodgers], and I'm thinking, 'That's what it looks like,'" Snitker said. "They're four wins away from going to the World Series again. Over the course of this season, I kept wondering if we were strong enough to pull this off.

"We've got to get stronger as a team to compete in that situation, because [the Dodgers] are really deep. They're strong. We're not there yet. We'll get there. We've just got to continue to work to get stronger with the bullpen depth, the bench and things like that. We're not a finished product by any means. There's a lot of young players on our team -- position players and pitchers -- that will take steps to get there."

Update on Dansby Swanson, who missed the NLDS because of a torn ligament in his left hand
"Talking to the doctors, he just needs rest and time. He just needs to heal and he should be fine. It's just something that will take a while. He'll continue treatment and rest before he actually starts offseason stuff. But they have never expressed any long-term concerns to me. He should be ready for the start of Spring Training," said Snitker.

On the left-handed-hitting inconsistencies of switch-hitter Ozzie Albies, who produced a .810 OPS vs. right-handed pitchers in the first half and .492 OPS against them in the second half
"He's going to have to make some adjustments," Snitker said. "I think we saw it in spurts. [In terms of age] he's a junior in college. He's got a lot of experience, but he's still a young big leaguer. This was his first full year too. He came out, burst on the scene and still ended up with a pretty solid year. He's going to have to adjust. That's what this is all about. I have all the confidence in him as a player. He's got the skill set. It's sometimes not a bad thing to [struggle] a little bit. It takes a while. You just have to be patient with these guys."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves

Acuna youngest to hit postseason slam

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. knew it was gone once the ball left his bat.

He took two slow steps toward first base, dropped his hands to his side and trotted around the bases and right into the record books.

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ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. knew it was gone once the ball left his bat.

He took two slow steps toward first base, dropped his hands to his side and trotted around the bases and right into the record books.

View Full Game Coverage

The 20-year-old's second-inning grand slam gave the Braves an early five-run lead that propelled them to a 6-5 victory against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, staving off elimination on Sunday night at SunTrust Park. And in so doing, he became the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the postseason, ahead of Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Acuna's 109.0-mph, 414-ft. grand slam

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Acuna's teammates in the home dugout called the home run. Then again, they always do.

"We all think that every time he goes up to the plate," Nick Markakis said. "He's just an unbelievable talent. He's been huge. We would not be in the situation we are now without him."

The slam almost didn't happen, because Acuna nearly walked before it. Buehler threw him three straight balls to start the at-bat, and the fourth pitch was called a strike despite appearing to be high and out of the zone. Manager Brian Snitker said that Acuna had a take sign on the pitch, and it was a good thing.

Acuna turned on the next pitch, a 98.1-mph fastball, and watched it sail into the seats. Buehler peeked over his left shoulder and winced. He knew it was gone, too.

And with that, Acuna wrote his name in the record books again. Mantle had been the youngest player with a postseason grand slam, hitting his as a 21-year-old in the 1953 World Series for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Somebody is eventually going to have to tell Acuna who Mantle is. After the game, the young star brought the house down when he quipped to reporters that he didn't know who the Hall of Famer was, "because I wasn't even born then."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Acuna on not knowing Mickey Mantle

"I was just really focused on that at-bat, and thank God I was able to make contact," Acuna said in Spanish. "We just have to show up with the same mentality [in Game 4], be positive and try to get back to Los Angeles with the series tied."

Acuna hit 26 homers during the regular season, but Sunday marked his first career grand slam. The rookie is coming off a breakout season that saw him set a franchise record with eight leadoff home runs. He also hit home runs in five consecutive games during one stretch. Still, Sunday's hit was his biggest to date, and it's not really close.

"I have to rank it first of all the moments just because it happened in the playoffs," Acuna said. "And to be honest, that's what we've been working for this entire time since Spring Training: trying get to the playoffs."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Snitker on Newcomb's key RBI walk

It was Markakis who drew a four-pitch walk to open the eventful second, but Buehler bounced back by striking out Johan Camargo and Kurt Suzuki. Ozzie Albies showed some patience when he looked at a pair of pitches outside the strike zone, and it paid off with a single to center.

When center fielder Cody Bellinger bobbled the ball, Markakis took third and Albies scooted to second on Bellinger's ill-advised throw to third. It prompted the Dodgers to walk Charlie Culberson intentionally, loading the bases for Braves starter Sean Newcomb, who entered the game 3-for-72 in his career. Newcomb looked at four straight pitches out of the zone, and just like that, the Braves had their first run of the series. It was the eighth bases-loaded walk issued to a pitcher in postseason history and it set the stage for Acuna's heroics.

"I was just up there waiting to see a strike and didn't get one," Newcomb said. "It was crazy. It was pretty exhilarating. I'm not used to holding a bat; I'm used to holding a ball. [After the walk] I was just trying to get down to first and not look stupid."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Acuna Jr. on hitting clutch grand slam

Freddie Freeman's solo home run in the sixth inning proved to be the game winner, but it was Acuna's blast that provided most of the offense. He is only the fourth rookie to hit a grand slam in the postseason, joining Paul Goldschmidt in 2011, Ricky Ledee in 1999 and Gil McDougald in 1951.

"You don't see somebody that young doing the things that he is doing, and we are just lucky to have him on the same team," Ender Inciarte said. "I'm always telling him to work and to stay healthy because the things you are going to be able to do in this game are not just good for you, they are great for this team."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.

Freeman's HR powers Braves to Game 3 win

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Given all he has endured over the past few years, it was fitting that Freddie Freeman delivered the decisive blow to preserve the efforts of the many Braves who contributed to the season-extending 6-5 win over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

Once closer Arodys Vizcaino had escaped potential disaster in the ninth inning of Sunday night's "must win" game, the Braves could enjoy Ronald Acuna Jr.'s jaw-dropping grand slam and celebrate Freeman's timely contribution, a go-ahead homer off former teammate Alex Wood in the sixth inning.

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ATLANTA -- Given all he has endured over the past few years, it was fitting that Freddie Freeman delivered the decisive blow to preserve the efforts of the many Braves who contributed to the season-extending 6-5 win over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

Once closer Arodys Vizcaino had escaped potential disaster in the ninth inning of Sunday night's "must win" game, the Braves could enjoy Ronald Acuna Jr.'s jaw-dropping grand slam and celebrate Freeman's timely contribution, a go-ahead homer off former teammate Alex Wood in the sixth inning.

View Full Game Coverage

"Somebody asked me today before the game who [I would pick to deliver in a big situation]," manager Brian Snitker said. "I was like, 'Freddie.' I mean, it's always him. He's the guy that we count on."

:: NLDS schedule and results ::

Freeman established himself as a mainstay during Chipper Jones' final years, then was chosen to be the franchise cornerstone during the recent massive rebuild. The experiences he had while being part of a 90-loss team each of the past three years have added to the sweetness of this season, which was extended courtesy of what stands as his finest postseason moment.

So when Freeman jumped on Wood's first-pitch curveball and watched his first career postseason homer sail into the right-field seats, he certainly had reason to break free from his usually composed demeanor. He pumped his fists while looking toward his teammates, who certainly understood the gravity of the moment.

"I don't really know what happened," Freeman said. "They showed me the replay after the game, and I guess I was pretty excited after I hit it. That was a big moment that put us ahead. So kind of emotions took over."

In the history of best-of-five series with the 2-2-1 format, 27 teams have lost the first two games on the road. Of the 11 teams to force a Game 4, four won a second straight time at home to set up a winner-take-all Game 5 on the road, and three came all the way back to win the series.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Freeman belts a go-ahead homer

So the odds are against the Braves, just as they were when nobody picked them to win the NL East before the season. Or when Sunday's five-run lead was erased by the fifth inning. Or when Vizcaino put two on before recording the first out of his scoreless ninth. It's dicey, but it's doable.

Video: Must C Conclusion: Vizcaino holds off Dodgers in 9th

"The biggest game of our lives was tonight, and obviously seeing the [5-0] lead go away was not ideal, but we held at 5-5, so we knew we had a chance," Freeman said. "This team's been doing it all year. When we get down, we come back."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Snitker, Freeman and Acuna Jr. on win

This underdog team seems to thrive on the youthful innocence that was apparent yet again after the game, when Acuna admitted that he had never heard of Mickey Mantle. The 20-year-old phenom was asked about the Yankee legend because a few hours earlier, he supplanted Mantle (21 years old in the 1953 World Series) as the youngest player to hit a grand slam in a postseason game.

Video: Must C Classic: Acuna youngest to hit postseason slam

"He continues to amaze," Freeman said of Acuna. "I don't think we needed or wanted anybody else in that situation."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Acuna on not knowing Mickey Mantle

Acuna found himself in that situation because Dodgers rookie starter Walker Buehler momentarily lost his command. Nick Markakis drew a four-pitch walk to begin the second, and the usually aggressive Ozzie Albies looked at two pitches out of the zone before delivering a two-out single that center fielder Cody Bellinger fumbled, allowing the Braves to put runners at second and third.

After Charlie Culberson was intentionally walked, Sean Newcomb looked at four straight pitches out of the zone. That bases-loaded walk drawn by a pitcher who owns three career hits ended the Braves' 19-inning scoreless drought to begin this NLDS. Acuna then looked at three balls before hitting his slam on a 3-1 count; Freeman later drilled Wood's first pitch of the night into the lasting memory of countless fans.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Newcomb plates Markakis on RBI walk

It was just one of those nights for the Braves. Consequently, this memorable season will consist of at least one more day.

"We approached this game like there may be no tomorrow," Snitker said. "We gotta play it like that."

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Snitker on Braves' 6-5 win over Dodgers

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After jumping out to a five-run lead, the Braves stuck to their plan to keep a short leash on Newcomb, who was lifted after walking two batters in the third. Justin Turner made those walks costly when he greeted Kevin Gausman with an RBI single, and an additional run scored on the play when the ball got behind Acuna.

Gausman's entry prompted the Dodgers to insert left-handed slugger Max Muncy into their lineup in the third inning. After Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in the fifth, Muncy greeted southpaw Max Fried with a game-tying solo home run -- his fifth homer within a span of 24 at-bats against Atlanta.

"Max hung a breaking ball, but other than that, yeah, it was just a hard-fought game, man," Snitker said. "That was a playoff game there."

SOUND SMART
Touki Toussaint became the first Braves rookie to earn a postseason win since John Rocker in Game 5 of the 1998 NLDS.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Toussaint escapes bases-loaded jam

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Culberson added to his list of big postseason moments when he produced one of the game's top defensive plays to deny the Dodgers a run. Former Brave Matt Kemp opened the sixth with a double, but after advancing to third on a groundout, he made the mistake of trying to score against a drawn-in Culberson, who snared Enrique Hernandez's sharp grounder and fired a strike to Kurt Suzuki, who applied the tag.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm3: Culberson throws out Kemp at home

HE SAID IT
"When we're seeing all their pitchers take the line for the intros and all of them are spiked up, not one of them are turfed up, so he's probably going to be quick, make sure you're ready." -- Muncy, on the fact that most of the Braves' relievers were wearing spikes, indicating Newcomb would not pitch more than a few innings

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves