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Inciarte flirts with history behind 8 hits in twin bill

Atlanta's leadoff man falls one hit shy of tying Major League record for most in doubleheader
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Ender Inciarte came one hit shy of history.

Inciarte's blistering 8-for-10 day at the plate Wednesday powered a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, leaving the Braves' center fielder one hit shy of tying the Major League record of nine in a twin bill. The feat was last accomplished in 1961 by the Angels' Lee Thomas. Inciarte also walked in Game 1 -- during which he went 5-for-5 -- for good measure.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Ender Inciarte came one hit shy of history.

Inciarte's blistering 8-for-10 day at the plate Wednesday powered a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, leaving the Braves' center fielder one hit shy of tying the Major League record of nine in a twin bill. The feat was last accomplished in 1961 by the Angels' Lee Thomas. Inciarte also walked in Game 1 -- during which he went 5-for-5 -- for good measure.

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"It was fun. You come here just thinking you're going to play two games and try to get on base for your teammates, and I end up having a really good day," Inciarte said.

Video: ATL@PHI: Inciarte on his eight hits in doubleheader

That "really good day" raised his season average from an already impressive .301 to .310 in a few short hours.

Inciarte, who is also one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, quietly racked up an impressive hit total over the past few seasons. Since 2015, Inciarte's second season in the bigs, he ranks fourth among outfielders with 485 hits. Only two Major Leaguers have more hits than Inciarte this season: Jose Altuve and Charlie Blackmon.

"It's impressive. He's been doing that all year," said Braves starter Julio Teheran, who got the win in Game 2. "Today was a big day for him. Doubleheader, to get eight hits in a day? That's pretty impressive."

Video: ATL@PHI: Inciarte ropes two-run single up the middle

Nothing Inciarte saw from Phillies pitching could slow him down on Wednesday. He took advantage of mistakes and non-mistakes alike, grooved pitches and those on the edges, slashing everything near the plate into the outfield. How impressive were his eight base knocks? He had only two swinging strikes.

"He was just up there sweet-swinging that bat, man," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That's neat. It's like he wasn't overswinging, just putting nice swings on the ball, and evidently he's seeing the ball pretty good, too."

Seven of his eight hits came on the third pitch of the at-bat or earlier, with the other coming on a four-pitch at-bat. When he saw something he liked, he put bat on ball. Fastballs outside? Three singles. Sliders? Two more singles and a triple. Front-door curveball? Another single.

"To be honest, I wasn't trying to swing at everything I saw, but I was able to swing at good pitches today, and that was the key," Inciarte said. "The last couple weeks, I've been swinging through a lot of bad pitches, and today I was better swinging at strikes."

Video: ATL@PHI: Inciarte laces triple down right-field line

After his third 5-for-5 game of the season in Game 1, Inciarte joined Kenny Lofton as the only Braves players (going back to 1913) with three five-hit games in a single season.

While Inciarte's afternoon fell just shy of reaching historical heights, he did spark the Braves offense from the onset. In both games, Inciarte led off with singles, stole second and scored. He led off Game 2 by swinging at the first pitch, a 91-mph fastball, for a single.

"I was really aggressive today at the plate. I was swinging at good pitches," Inciarte said. "Why take a fastball in the middle right there if I was feeling so good? So I ended up getting the base hit and building good momentum for the team."

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Braves on Wednesday.

Atlanta Braves, Ender Inciarte