Albies rips homer to join 30-HR, 100-RBI club

Riley adds solo shot as Braves' young core stacks accolades

September 23rd, 2021

PHOENIX -- Along with providing daily entertainment via the incessant barbs he exchanges with Braves third-base coach Ron Washington during batting practice, Ozzie Albies has regularly energized his teammates with the tremendous talent he’s displayed during this special season.

Albies created a lasting memory with the home run he hit in the fifth inning of a 9-2 win over the D-backs on Wednesday night at Chase Field. The two-run shot secured both the first 30-homer and 100-RBI season of his still young career. He’s the first second baseman in Braves franchise history to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI season.

“That’s really neat because he’s just a little fellow, you know,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s great.”

Adam Duvall cleared the outfield wall with a unique two-run single in the first and Austin Riley moved closer to his own 30-homer, 100-RBI season when he tallied his 31st homer and 95th RBI in the third inning. Albies’ homer off D-backs starter Merrill Kelly provided some cushion as the Braves won their fourth straight and stayed three games ahead of the Phillies in the National League East race.

The Braves’ magic number has been reduced to nine with 12 games remaining. They began their current streak of three division titles during Albies’ first full season in the Majors.

“It feels amazing,” Albies said of his 30-homer, 100-RBI season. “All my hard work is paying off. I do it for the team.”

As the Braves look toward earning another postseason berth, they should feel encouraged after seeing Ian Anderson limit the D-backs to one run and two hits over seven innings. At the same time, they can also feel good about the fact that Albies again seemed more comfortable batting in the third spot. The 24-year-old second baseman has gone 5-for-17 with two homers and a double since moving out of the leadoff spot following Saturday’s game.

“[His homers] seem to go a long way and they’re alway majestic,” Anderson said. “To have the power we have on this team is pretty amazing. There are no breaks for the opposing pitcher.”

Here are a few facts created by Albies’ 30th home run:

• Albies, Riley (31) and Freddie Freeman (31) have each reached the 30-homer mark, leaving Dansby Swanson (26) as the only Braves infielder who hasn’t. The 2008 Marlins are the only other team to ever have four infielders hit at least 25 homers.

• Albies became MLB’s first second baseman to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI season since fellow Curaçao native Jonathan Schoop did so in 2017. The only other second basemen to reach the mark going back to ‘10 are Robinson Canó (‘16) and Dan Uggla (‘10).

• Albies is the first Braves second baseman to record a 30-homer, 100-RBI season. Davey Johnson finished a RBI shy of the century mark when he hit 43 homers for Atlanta in 1973.

• Albies and Riley have homered in the same game 12 times since the start of the 2020 season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other teammates to also reach that mark 12 times over the past two seasons are Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Despite losing both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna this year, the Braves still have one of the game’s most powerful lineups. Duvall would have tallied his 38th homer had Austin Riley not doubled back toward first base thinking the long drive had been caught in the first inning. Riley made up for the mistake by drilling a solo shot in the third inning. He is five RBIs away from joining Albies in the 30-100 club.

Just twice in club history have the Braves had three different players tally 30 homers and 100 RBIs in a season. That occurred in 2003 (Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez) and 1998 (Andres Galarraga, Chipper Jones and Lopez). That won’t be matched this year, but Duvall, who was acquired from the Marlins on July 30, already has 37 homers and an NL-best 109 RBIs.

If Riley reaches the 100-RBI mark, he and Albies would become just the fifth set of teammates 24 years or younger to tally 30 homers and 100 RBIs in a season. The only others to do so were Ryan Braun/Prince Fielder of the 2008 Brewers, Mark Teixeira/Hank Blalock of the 2004 Rangers, Mark McGwire/Jose Canseco of the 1987 A’s and Don Hurst/Chuck Klein of the 1929 Phillies.

“I never see [Albies] have a bad day,” Snitker said. “His attitude is off the charts. He’s just a cool young man.”