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Eye on roster spot, Adams hits walk-off HR

@mlbbowman
July 22, 2020

ATLANTA -- Matt Adams became a popular clubhouse figure in Atlanta during the 2017 season. Three years later, he has another opportunity to enrich the Braves with his power. Adams provided a reminder of what he can do when he drilled a walk-off homer that capped the Braves' wild 10-9

ATLANTA -- Matt Adams became a popular clubhouse figure in Atlanta during the 2017 season. Three years later, he has another opportunity to enrich the Braves with his power.

Adams provided a reminder of what he can do when he drilled a walk-off homer that capped the Braves' wild 10-9 comeback win over the Marlins in an exhibition game on Tuesday night at Truist Park. His solo shot off Minor Leaguer Alex Vesia landed in same right-field seats he dented with some regularity a few summers ago.

“His presence and what he can give you now, especially with the [designated hitter], he fills that spot,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We loved him when he was here before. He’s a guy who will lengthen your lineup, and we’re glad to have him back.”

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Adams, who signed a Minor League contract on Monday after being released by the Mets on Saturday, was the starting designated hitter and batted fifth in the order on Tuesday.

After first baseman Freddie Freeman broke his left wrist six weeks into the 2017 season, the Braves acquired Adams from the Cardinals and saw him hit 12 homers through his first 31 games with the team. His impact was actually significant enough for Freeman to voluntarily move to third base when he returned from the injured list.

Freeman’s stay at third base lasted just a few weeks because that power surge slowed over the remainder of the summer, but Adams still produced an .858 OPS in 314 plate appearances for Atlanta.

Adams produced a .763 OPS while serving as a role player for the Cardinals and Nationals over the past two seasons. He has homered once every 14.9 at-bats against right-handers since the start of the 2017 season.

So the Braves could use him as their primary designated hitter against right-handers, and then possibly bring him off the bench when opposing a left-handed starter.

Adam Duvall’s two-out RBI single capped an eight-run eighth inning that saw the Braves claim a 9-8 advantage before Jesús Sánchez tied it in the ninth with a solo shot.

After Mike Foltynewicz surrendered six runs and was chased in the fifth, the Braves mounted their comeback against Marlins relievers Robert Dugger and Adam Conley. Freddie Freeman fueled the big inning with an RBI single and Charlie Culberson delivered a big blow with a three-run double. Highly regarded prospect Drew Waters kept the rally going with a game-tying RBI double.

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