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d'Arnaud burns Mets, capping Braves' wild W

@mlbbowman
August 1, 2020

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Brian Snitker gave a witty response when asked how significantly his mood changed when his team constructed a five-run eighth inning that provided an 11-10 win over the Mets on Friday night at Truist Park. “You go from sitting in a dentist chair, waiting for them

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Brian Snitker gave a witty response when asked how significantly his mood changed when his team constructed a five-run eighth inning that provided an 11-10 win over the Mets on Friday night at Truist Park.

“You go from sitting in a dentist chair, waiting for them to hit a nerve, to being beside yourself,” Snitker said.

Box score

Most root canals would have been less agonizing than what Snitker watched as Sean Newcomb and Jhoulys Chacín combined to allow the Mets to tally eight runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Newcomb provided further reason to question whether he belongs in the starting rotation. As for Chacín, he showed why the Twins released him just two weeks ago.

But thanks to Travis d'Arnaud's three-run double with two outs in the eighth, the Braves claimed a third straight win and Snitker didn’t have to leave the stadium stressing about how the game unfolded when he turned to Chacín.

This moment was a little extra special for d’Arnaud, who debuted for the Mets in 2013 and remained with the organization until he was released last year. The veteran catcher spent last week quarantined while battling what proved to be a bad cold. He left his house only for COVID-19 testing over a seven-day span that ended on Tuesday, when he started swinging a bat and working out again.

“We just never give up,” d’Arnaud said. “It all starts with Snit giving good energy the whole game. Regardless of if we’re down 8-2 or we’re up by a ton of runs, he’s always the same, and it keeps everybody in a great mood.”

Over the past few years, the Braves’ media relations staff has regularly placed a “Never Quit with Snit” section within its notes. The Braves have staged a number of impressive comebacks and claimed a fair share of last-at-bat wins since Snitker assumed his role six weeks into the 2016 season.

But this one ranked up there among the most impressive. First off all, the Braves showed character as they continued to fight after falling behind 8-2 in the fifth inning of a game that was not going to be influenced by the energy of the hometown crowd.

Chris Martin worked a scoreless ninth to record his sixth career save and first since joining Atlanta at last year’s Trade Deadline.

Dellin Betances issued two walks and surrendered a pair of hits, including Dansby Swanson's RBI single, while recording just one out in the eighth. His wild pitch, which completed a walk to Freddie Freeman, accounted for the inning’s second run and ended his night.

“I think a big thing for us during these unprecedented times is just the game is the game and we’re going to compete to win,” Swanson said. “No matter if we’re down five runs or 10 runs, we’re going to compete until they tell us the game is over.”

Seth Lugo entered and promptly walked Marcell Ozuna to load the bases. One out later, d’Arnaud damaged his former team with the game-winning double, lined into the right-center-field gap on Lugo’s 2-0 slider.

Lugo likely wouldn’t have thrown that pitch had plate umpire Mark Wegner called a strike on the previous pitch, a 1-0 fastball that appeared to catch the plate.

“I definitely thought it was a strike, but I had a game plan and I got away from it that next pitch,” Lugo said. “It’s kind of unacceptable to let something like that get in your head and affect the next pitch. I’ve got to do a better job of staying focused.”

Somehow, the Braves stayed focused and d’Arnaud believes there might be something to Snitker’s aura influencing these comebacks.

“I don’t like comparing,” d’Arnaud said. “I’ve been on some great teams with some great managers. But I’ll tell you, [Snitker] is always in a great mood. He uplifts you when you’re feeling down.”

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