PHOENIX -- A little less than three weeks after attempting to hit a ball out of Coors Field, Adam Duvall strengthened his bid to win the National League home run crown with a homer that traveled farther than any ball he has hit in his career.
Duvall caused some jaws to drop with the titanic home run he hit in the Braves' seven-run fifth inning in an 11-4 win over the D-backs on Monday night. The monstrous shot traveled a projected 483 feet, making it the second-longest homer tracked at Chase Field since Statcast began tracking in 2015 and the fourth-longest home run of 2021.
“That was the purest ball I’ve hit in my big league career,” Duvall said. “That’s one of those you work for and strive for. It’s almost like your best drive in golf. You very rarely achieve it, but when you do, it’s fun.”
Freddie Freeman enjoyed a three-hit night and Austin Riley tallied a double in each of his first three plate appearances. But as the Braves improved their bid to win a fourth straight NL East title, the buzz centered around Duvall’s impressive shot, which stands as the longest hit by an Atlanta player this year.
“It was like my mouth dropped open,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I asked him, “Did that feel like anything?’ I know sometimes you hit a ball like that and you don’t even feel it. That went a long way.”
But while the Duvall homer was impressive, the most important development of the night was that the Braves once again moved three games ahead of the second-place Phillies, who lost to the Orioles on Monday night.
With 14 games remaining, the Braves’ magic number to clinch the division is 11. They have won two straight since their lead over the Phillies dropped to just one game after Saturday’s action.
Duvall stands as one of the primary reasons that the Braves have been so successful since the Trade Deadline. The 33-year-old has hit a career-high 37 home runs, including 15 in the 44 games he has played since being acquired from the Marlins on July 30. His latest home run came in his 159th at-bat for Atlanta. That equated to one homer for every 10.6 at-bats.
Duvall’s 37 homers put him two behind Fernando Tatis Jr.’s National League-leading total.
“He bangs,” Riley said. “He just goes out there and it’s impressive. That ball tonight was hit a very long way. … I was on second [base]. I didn’t even watch where it landed. I just started jogging and [third base coach Ron Washington] was laughing. It was good. ”
Going back to the start of the 2020 season, Duvall has 31 homers in 101 games with Atlanta. He was non-tendered this past winter and ended up signing with the Marlins. But he’s seemed to be right at home since the moment he returned.
While playing the Rockies at Coors Field on Sept. 2, Duvall had set his previous career-long with a 477-foot homer. Before this year, he had never hit a home run longer than 457 feet. Now, he has exceeded that length twice this month.
The 495-foot shot Ronald Acuña Jr. hit against the Red Sox on Sept. 25, 2020, stands as the longest home run hit by a Braves player since Statcast began tracking in 2015. Until tonight, the 481-foot shot that Acuña hit against the Cubs on April 27 had stood as the second-longest hit by an Atlanta player in the Statcast era.
But Duvall now owns that distinction with his latest homer, which went through the hands of a fan standing on the left-center-field concourse. The only player to ever hit a longer homer at Chase Field as tracked by Statcast was Franchy Cordero, who hit a 489-foot home run for the Padres on April 20, 2018.
“I think that’s probably all I’ve got,” Duvall said. “I don’t want to sell myself short. But I would impress myself if I hit one further than that.”