'Really powerful' lineup belts 3 HRs in big win

September 12th, 2021

ATLANTA -- helped the 2019 Twins become the only club in Major League history to have five different players hit at least 30 homers for them in one season. But Rosario is now part of an offense that might be even deeper in the power department.

Rosario hit a two-run homer and Ozzie Albies took another step closer to his first 30-homer season on Sunday afternoon at Truist Park. But the highlight of the Braves’ 5-3 win over the Marlins came courtesy of Freddie Freeman securing his third career 30-homer season on his 32nd birthday.

“He had his birthday blast and as he was going to the end of the dugout, everybody was singing ‘Happy Birthday' to [him]," Albies said. “Homers are fun. That’s why everybody celebrates them.”

Albies hit a go-ahead homer and Freeman followed with a solo shot of his own in the seventh inning. The homers, combined with the Phillies’ loss on Sunday, helped the Braves regain a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League East race. Their magic number is 16 with 20 games to play.

“It’s definitely nice to have No. 30 happen on my birthday with a lot of my family members in town,” Freeman said. “It was just a good overall win today. Winning the series is all I care about.”

The Braves have put themselves in position to win a fourth consecutive division title courtesy of the shrewd moves made before the July 30 Trade Deadline. Within the final two weeks of July, they enhanced their offense with the acquisitions of Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson and Rosario. Duvall is in the middle of his third 30-homer season. Each of the other three outfielders had one just two seasons ago.

Atlanta’s lineup on Sunday didn’t include Duvall, who ranks second in the NL with 34 homers. But still, it included seven players who have either already hit 30 homers this year, have a good chance to reach this mark within the next three weeks or who have tallied this total within the past three seasons.

“It’s all guys that have bought into what we’re doing,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “All of them want to play and contribute. Unfortunately, we can’t play all [of the new outfielders]. That’s the thing. But it’s all about winning games right now.”

Rosario teamed with Miguel Sanó, Mitch Garver, Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler in 2019 to become the only group of five teammates to ever hit 30 homers for the same team in a season. He currently finds himself platooning and batting eighth in the Braves’ power-packed lineup.

“They’ve got a good lineup,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s when you see the bottom doing damage. I mean, Eddie can hit. He swings the bat. So there is no easy out.”

Rosario's valuable production includes the two-run homer he hit off Edward Cabrera in the fourth inning. It was his 10th homer of the season and one of three he has hit in 33 at-bats since being acquired from the Indians on July 30. The veteran outfielder also made a strong throw to the plate to prevent Jesús Sánchez from attempting to tag and score in the ninth.

After Max Fried allowed the Marlins to tie the game with a pair of runs in the sixth, Albies hit his go-ahead, one-out homer off Anthony Bass in the seventh. The All-Star second baseman leads the National League with 68 extra-base hits, which includes his career-high 28 homers.

Freeman’s solo shot off Bass provided an insurance run and made him the first player to hit 30 homers for the Braves this year. Austin Riley (29), Albies (28) and Dansby Swanson (26) could all reach the 30-homer mark by the end of the season. They have already teamed to join the 2008 Marlins as the only group of infielders to each hit at least 25 homers in a season.

“Our lineup is really powerful,” Albies said. “We can play some small baseball too. It has been fun for us and it's working.”