ATLANTA -- Jayson Heyward started this decade with a bang and Ronald Acuña Jr. has continued to create the youthful excitement that has surrounded the Braves each of these past 10 seasons. Bobby Cox enjoyed one last playoff experience in 2010 and his former third-base coach Brian Snitker has guided
ATLANTA -- Jayson Heyward started this decade with a bang and Ronald Acuña Jr. has continued to create the youthful excitement that has surrounded the Braves each of these past 10 seasons. Bobby Cox enjoyed one last playoff experience in 2010 and his former third-base coach Brian Snitker has guided Atlanta to the postseason each of the past two years.
Here’s a look at the Braves’ top 10 games of the decade:
1. Conrad's comeback
Date: May 20, 2010
Tommy Hanson surrendered eight runs in the second inning and the Braves entered the bottom of the ninth trailing the Reds, 9-3. Four straight singles to begin the frame combined with a walk and an error brought Atlanta within three runs. After Arthur Rhodes struck out Jason Heyward, Brooks Conrad came off the bench to pinch-hit for Craig Kimbrel. That prompted the entry of Francisco Cordero, who allowed Conrad to cap the crazy seven-run ninth with a walk-off grand slam that gave the Braves an improbable 10-9 win.
2. Chipper’s final home run
Date: Sept. 2, 2012
The Braves fell behind 5-0 in the first inning and were trailing 7-3 before Phillies third baseman Kevin Frandsen’s inability to secure Martín Prado’s two-out, ninth-inning grounder scored two runs and brought Chipper Jones to the plate. Jones made the most of the opportunity when he clobbered Jonathan Papelbon’s delivery over the right-center-field wall for a walk-off homer that capped a five-run ninth and gave Atlanta an 8-7 victory.
3. Cox’s final win
Date: Oct. 8, 2010
Alex Gonzalez’s two-run double capped a game-tying, three-run eighth that gave the Braves life in Game 2 of their National League Division Series against the Giants. When an oblique strain forced Billy Wagner to exit with a runner on second in the 10th, Atlanta was in trouble. But Kyle Farnsworth induced an inning-ending double play started by third baseman Troy Glaus, who had played just two innings at third base during the regular season. Rick Ankiel then gave the Braves a 5-4 lead with his 11th-inning homer.
4. 19-inning game vs. Pirates
Date: July 26, 2011
After the Braves scored three runs to tie it in the third, they traded zeros with the Pirates over the next 15 innings. Cristhian Martinez worked six scoreless innings of relief for Atlanta, and Scott Proctor followed with three more. But what most people likely remember about Proctor that night was how he face-planted after hitting the ground ball that became a game-winner when home-plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled Julio Lugo safe, despite the fact it was clear Pirates catcher Michael McKenry applied the tag well ahead of Lugo reaching the plate. It took the Braves six hours and 39 minutes to claim this 4-3, 19-inning win.
5. Acuña’s slam
Date: Oct. 7, 2018
Staring at the possibility of getting swept in their National League Division Series against the Dodgers, the Braves experienced the most memorable moment in SunTrust Park’s young history. After intentionally walking Charlie Culberson to load the bases, Walker Buehler walked Sean Newcomb to force in a run. Ronald Acuña Jr. made the Dodgers hurler pay when he drilled a grand slam into the left-center-field seats. Acuña’s first postseason homer was later followed by Freddie Freeman’s sixth-inning solo shot that proved decisive in Atlanta’s 6-5, Game 3 win.
6. Improbable comeback
Date: May 20, 2018
Facing a 9-4 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth against the Marlins, the Braves staged a six-run rally that was capped by Dansby Swanson’s two-out, two-run, walk-off single in a 10-9 win. After Ronald Acuña Jr.’s one-out sacrifice fly accounted for Atlanta’s first run of the frame, five straight Braves reached safely ahead of Swanson, who fouled off consecutive 99-mph pitches before lacing his game winner to left.
7. Freeman hits for the cycle
Date: June 15, 2016
Freddie Freeman doubled, tripled and homered through the first six innings of this 9-8, 13-inning win over the Reds at Turner Field. He hit for the cycle for the first time in his career when he singled in the 11th. After Cincinnati tallied two runs in the top of the 13th, the Braves came back with a three-run frame capped by Chase d’Arnaud’s walk-off single.
8. Swanson makes 'em pay
Date: Oct. 6, 2019
Mike Soroka dazzled over seven innings during his first postseason start, and his gem was preserved when the Braves avoided a shutout by scoring three ninth-inning runs in their 3-1 win in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium. After Brian McCann was intentionally walked with two outs to put runners at first and third, Dansby Swanson laced a game-tying double. Swanson scored when Adam Duvall followed with a go-ahead, two-run single.
9. Upton here, Upton here
Date: April 6, 2013
B.J. Upton and Justin Upton concluded their first week as teammates in memorable fashion. With the Braves trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, B.J. hit a game-tying homer off Carlos Marmol. Two batters later, Justin hit a walk-off homer that gave the Braves a 6-5 win over the Cubs.
10. Welcome to The Show
Date: April 5, 2010
The Braves’ first game of the decade proved quite memorable thanks to Jason Heyward. There wasn’t much drama in the 15-6 win claimed over the Cubs on Opening Day at Turner Field. But Heyward created a lasting memory for all those who came to see the hometown phenom debut. The first swing of his career resulted in a go-ahead, three-run homer off Carlos Zambrano.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.