Positive Inciarte enjoys rare 2-HR game

April 13th, 2017

MIAMI -- After seeing his early-season struggles continue with a first-inning groundout during Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park, told some of his Braves' teammates, "Hey man, I'm locked in."

Inciarte was simply trying to medicate his psyche with a positive frame of mind, but at the same time, he was also unexpectedly predicting what was going to happen. He spent the next few plate appearances constructing a rare two-homer game and providing the reminder of how much value he provides as both an offensive catalyst and Gold Glove Award performer.

"I ended up having a great day just because I came with the right attitude," said Inciarte, who entered the finale of an eight-game road trip batting .152 (5-for-33), with a double standing as his lone extra-base hit.

As Inciarte produced a .835 OPS after solidifying the leadoff role over his final 53 games last year, the Braves' offense proved to be much more productive. Likewise, as he struggled through this season's first week, Atlanta's offense lacked the spark it gained when Inciarte began this latest two-homer game with a two-run shot off Tom Koehler in the third inning.

"I know he was just trying to put a good swing on the ball," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I know he's been working hard. He was in the cage all afternoon with Seitz [hitting coach Kevin Seitzer] trying to iron some things out. He just got two good pitches to hit and put a good swing on them."

Inciarte's only previous multi-homer game occurred on Sept. 27, 2015, and he totaled just three homers in 522 at-bats last year. So, it was certainly surprising when he added to Wednesday's success by pulling a game-tying solo shot down the right-field line against in the eighth inning.

"Sometimes, you're going to have games like this," Inciarte said. "This is the second time I've had a multi-homer game. It feels really good when you can do it. I know I'm not going to do it often, but I try not to be surprised when it happens."

Inciarte wasn't happy about losing Dee Gordon's third-inning double in the lights, but he provided some defensive value in the second inning when he dove to snare a Koehler liner that according to Statcast™ had a 41-percent catch probability and qualified as a four-star catch. On the way to winning his first Gold Glove Award last year, the Braves' center fielder tied for eighth in the league with eight four-star catches.

"Any time you can help the team win, it's always going to feel good," Inciarte said. "I've been grinding it every at-bat and I've been working hard in the cage. It's always going to feel good to have a game like this."