The go-ahead homer came from the 22-year-old Riley, who has now hit as many homers in the seventh inning or later this season -- seven -- as he has in innings one through six.
Why don’t those situations faze the rookie?
“I think it’s, like I’ve always said, the team, the atmosphere that they bring, the comfort in the situations. … They trust me, and I think that helps a lot. And just kind of really locking it in, focusing and even more trying to help the team,” Riley said.
Riley said that he did feel added pressure in that situation, but he channeled it into a good approach.
“I’ve come up a bunch, I feel like, with guys that hit home runs right before me and kind of put that extra pressure on myself to kind of do it again. I kind of just told myself, another at-bat, just go out there and put up the best at-bat that I could,” Riley said.
Manager Brian Snitker said that he thinks Riley’s Minor League experience has been key in how much success he’s had to start his Major League career.
“It wasn’t like Austin flew through the Minor Leagues,” Snitker said. “He repeated levels. … He got a lot of Minor League at-bats to learn what he’s doing. He repeated Double-A, he repeated Triple-A and he’s got some experience. He’s a student of the game, he doesn’t panic, he stays with his approach, and he’s a very mature kid for his age and where he’s at.”
It was the ninth time this season that the Braves have hit back-to-back home runs, the most in the Majors. They’ve only had three seasons in franchise history during which they’ve gone back to back more times: in 1998, ‘99 and 2006, when they did it 11 times.
This time, the back-to-back home runs keyed the team’s 21st comeback victory of the season and 50th win overall.
The homers also gave the Braves 55 home runs in June, tied for the most the club has hit in a calendar month. Atlanta is now three shy of the Major League home run record for a calendar month.
“I’m kind of lost [for] words, honestly,” Riley said of the team’s resilience. “Every at-bat, it’s always grinding, no matter what. … There’s just no quit. I think that has a lot to do with it.”
Snitker was similarly impressed.
“Incredible. I say these guys just keep wowing me,” Snitker said. “It’s always just somebody different, it’s adversity they overcome over the course of a game, just never out of a game. It’s something else.”
National League All-Star starter at first base Freddie Freeman went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts hitting third, but the team still racked up 13 hits.
“It’s just a team effort all the time. It’s not one guy. It’s just the whole team. They pick each other up,” Snitker said.
The Braves got out to an early 2-0 lead against Steven Matz, and they extended it to 3-0 against Chris Mazza, who was making his Major League debut, in the third inning after a one-hour, 10-minute rain delay. The Mets took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a Robinson Canó RBI single, before the Braves reclaimed the lead in the eighth.
Ozzie Albies, who exited the game an inning after being hit in the left elbow, was removed for precautionary reasons. Snitker said that he’ll likely rest Albies on Sunday, but that Albies was sore more than anything. Snitker noted that it was not the same elbow that Albies broke in 2016 as a Minor Leaguer.
Albies knocked a two-run single in the first inning.