ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuña Jr. chased history during the second half and produced National League MVP Award-worthy credentials that were rivaled by both Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson. Mike Soroka established himself as one of the game’s top starters and Brian McCann enjoyed a homecoming that might have evolved even
ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuña Jr. chased history during the second half and produced National League MVP Award-worthy credentials that were rivaled by both Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson. Mike Soroka established himself as one of the game’s top starters and Brian McCann enjoyed a homecoming that might have evolved even better than he envisioned when he returned to the Braves this past winter.
An abundance of memories were created as Atlanta proved to be one of baseball’s most exciting teams while journeying toward its second straight NL East title.
Here’s a look at the Braves' top 10 moments from the 2019 season:
1. Back-to-back division titles
Sept. 20 vs. Giants
Brian McCann’s sixth-inning home run supported Mike Foltynewicz’s eight scoreless innings and served as the feel-good moment during a 6-0 win that gave the Braves a second straight NL East title. McCann debuted in 2005, when Atlanta won the last of its record 14 consecutive division titles.
2. Welcome to the show, Austin
May 15 vs. Cardinals
Austin Riley didn’t wait long to intensify the buzz surrounding his arrival to the Major League level. The young slugger homered off Michael Wacha in his second career at-bat and helped the Braves claim a 4-0 win at SunTrust Park.
3. McCann caps big comeback
June 14 vs. Phillies
Atlanta trailed 7-2 before beginning a rally with a pair of runs in seventh and eighth innings of a thrilling 9-8 victory. Austin Riley extended the game with a two-out RBI double in the ninth and Brian McCann ended it when he followed with a walk-off single that capped a three-run ninth.
4. Sunday night rally
May 26 at Cardinals
The Braves trailed 3-0 entering the ninth inning of a 4-3, 10-inning win. Josh Donaldson and Austin Riley recorded RBI singles off Jordan Hicks and Ozzie Albies extended the game with a two-out single off Andrew Miller to tie it. Brian McCann drew a decisive bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning.
5. Acuña’s blast
May 10 at D-backs
Ronald Acuña Jr. celebrated his return to the leadoff spot by hitting a decisive solo homer in the eighth inning of a 2-1 win in Arizona. The outfielder’s 466-foot blast was the longest home run hit by an Atlanta player since Statcast began tracking that data in 2015.
6. Grand finale
Aug. 18 vs. Dodgers
Rafael Ortega's sixth-inning grand slam against Dustin May proved to be the decisive blow in a series-clinching, 5-3 win at SunTrust Park. Ortega had hit just one homer in his previous 330 career at-bats.
7. Freeman vs. Hader
May 18 vs. Brewers
Freddie Freeman quickly killed the drama of his matchup against Josh Hader during a 4-3, 10-inning win. The Braves first baseman opened the bottom of the 10th by drilling a walk-off home run against the Brewers closer, who entered the game having limited left-handed hitters to a .090 batting average and two homers dating back to the start of 2018.
8. Charlie's Angels in the Outfield
July 7 vs. Marlins
Luke Jackson used the "Charlie’s Angels" reference after Charlie Culberson produced the team’s defensive play of the year during the ninth inning of a 4-3 win at SunTrust Park. With the bases loaded and none out, Neil Walker hit a fly ball that Culberson caught in left field before unleashing a pinpoint throw that retired Jorge Alfaro at the plate.
9. Comeback in Cleveland
April 19 at Indians
Trailing 7-3 with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, the Braves were staring at the possibility of being swept in a doubleheader. But Ozzie Albies delivered a two-run single, Freddie Freeman drew a bases-loaded walk and Ronald Acuña Jr. completed an improbable comeback with a go-ahead, two-run double that gave Atlanta an 8-7 win.
10. Acuña joins the 30/30 club
Aug. 23 at Mets
When Ronald Acuña Jr. stole second base during the eighth inning of a 14-inning, 2-1 win at Citi Field, he became the second-youngest player in MLB history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season. The only other Braves to construct a 30/30 season were Hank Aaron (1963), Dale Murphy ('83) and Ron Gant ('90 and ’91).
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.