ATLANTA -- Though the Braves have sat atop the National League East throughout most of May, a few of Atlanta's players swear they don't pay attention to the standings. Based on what they've frequently done this year, especially over the past few home games, it appears this is a team
ATLANTA -- Though the Braves have sat atop the National League East throughout most of May, a few of Atlanta's players swear they don't pay attention to the standings. Based on what they've frequently done this year, especially over the past few home games, it appears this is a team that is also oblivious when it comes to late-inning challenges.
After encountering a four-run deficit on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park, the Braves once again displayed their resiliency as they staged another late-inning rally, and they celebrated Johan Camargo's first career walk-off homer at the conclusion of a 7-6 win over the Mets.
"I can't say enough about this team," Braves right-handed reliever Dan Winkler said. "It's so much fun to be out there. I told somebody it's like being in the backyard again playing baseball. It's just so much fun to be on the mound and watch this team compete."
The Braves have claimed each of their past three home wins in walk-off fashion. Their latest dramatic win kept them a half-game in front of the surging Nationals, who will come to Atlanta on Thursday to play a series that may not have seemed significant at the start of the season, back before the Braves became one of baseball's most exciting teams.
"There's a calm confidence in there because they've experienced it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "They know we're never out of it."
Some of that calm confidence is a reflection of Snitker's leadership, as the Braves have claimed an MLB-best 45 last-at-bat wins since he became the manager on May 16, 2016. This is a team that showed no panic while tallying a six-run ninth during the May 20 win over the Marlins, and one that wasn't too surprised to see Camargo experience the same walk-off thrill Charlie Culberson felt when he ended the first game of Monday's doubleheader against the Mets with a homer.
Knowing his mother had flown in from Panama to celebrate her birthday while watching her son play, Camargo provided a memorable gift when he turned on Gerson Bautista's 99.3-mph fastball and watched it sail into the right-field seats to give the Braves their third walk-off homer of the season, which ties the Cardinals for the MLB high.
"I knew who was pitching," Camargo said through an interpreter. "I knew how hard he can throw, and I knew if somebody connects with one, there's a chance. So, as soon as I hit it, I thought there might be a chance for it to go."
After being mobbed by his teammates, Camargo was embraced by his mother while conducting an on-the-field television interview.
"Obviously, it crossed my mind," Camargo said. "I thought, 'What if I could give [her a home run]?' Fortunately, we were able to do that."
This opportunity didn't seem likely when Asdrubal Cabrera helped the Mets gain a 6-2 lead through six innings while tallying his eighth career two-homer game. Cabrera drilled a two-run shot in the third off Anibal Sanchez, who allowed four runs in four innings, and greeted Matt Wisler with a solo shot to begin the fifth.
This certainly wasn't an insurmountable deficit for the Braves, who have tallied an NL-high 100 runs in the seventh inning or later. The Astros (107) are the only MLB club with more.
Wisler bounced back from the inauspicious beginning to deliver four valuable innings, and Winkler escaped a ninth-inning jam in impressive fashion. The Braves' offense tallied a pair of runs in the fourth inning after left middle finger discomfort limited Steven Matz to three innings. But the comeback didn't kick into full gear until a three-run eighth, which was highlighted by Ender Inciarte's game-tying two-run triple.
"Whatever the score was at some point, it really wasn't a big deal," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "It was just about trying to execute our plan against whoever it was that inning pitching against us and putting a bunch of good at-bats together."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big escape: Winkler encountered some rare trouble when he surrendered an Amed Rosario single and hit Brandon Nimmo with a pitch to begin the ninth. But after putting two on with none out, he sandwiched a Luis Guillorme fielder's choice between strikeouts of Cabrera and Michael Conforto.
The right-handed reliever has allowed an earned run in just one of his 24 appearances, and he owns a 0.81 ERA over 22 1/3 innings.
"I always want to come in in meaningful situations," Winkler said. "I got myself in that mess, so it's always good to get myself out of it."
Camargo's game-winning solo shot had a 108.7-mph exit velocity, which stands as the second-fastest home run a Braves player has hit this season. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s home run against the Mets on May 3 had a 112-mph exit velo, which is the third-highest reading generated by an Atlanta player dating back to the start of 2015.
HE SAID IT
"I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't [bother me]. Keith should be a Hall of Famer, so he knows what he's talking about. But I've got to respectfully disagree. All those guys down there are like brothers to me. It was just a long day for everybody. So, I just kind of give him a pass for that." -- Winkler, in response to a tweet from Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez, who suggested that many of the relievers the Braves used in Monday's doubleheader were not ready for the Major Leagues
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Ozzie Albies took off from second base on a 3-2 pitch that Nick Markakis chopped to Rosario with two outs in the third. The Braves' second baseman never paused as he continued toward the plate, and he would have scored had Rosario's throw not beat Markakis to the bag by a half-step. The Braves curiously requested a review that lasted just 13 seconds before first-base umpire Ben May's out call was confirmed.
Julio Teheran will attempt to extend his dominance of the Mets when the Braves conclude a four-game set against their division rival on Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Teheran has completed seven scoreless innings in both of his starts against the Mets this year, and he has a 1.55 ERA over his past 12 starts vs. New York, dating back to June 2015. The Mets will counter with Jason Vargas, who will be starting in place of Noah Syndergaard, who was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.