Marcell Ozuna added to the success of his rebound season as he tallied his third multi-homer performance of the season. His solo shot in the second gave the Braves five players with 25-plus homers for the first time in franchise history.
Ozuna’s leadoff homer in the fourth moved Atlanta closer to joining the 2019 Twins as the only teams to have five players with 30-plus homers.
When Winans tossed seven scoreless innings during the first game of an Aug. 12 doubleheader at Citi Field, he created an interesting storyline. This was his second career start and it resulted in him earning his first MLB win against the Mets, who couldn’t find room to protect him on their 38-man Triple-A roster ahead of the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.
Hopes of a repeat performance evaporated as Winans allowed seven earned runs over just 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered homers to DJ Stewart and Rafael Ortega during a three-run second inning and then allowed five straight batters to reach safely with one out in New York’s four-run fifth.
“He got too much of the plate with some pitches,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He was using his changeup better the last time. There were some ground balls that just went through and [the Mets] had a look at him [previously].”
While the results weren’t pretty, bringing Winans up from Triple-A Gwinnett to make this start could prove beneficial for the Braves, who really benefited from Collin McHugh tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings at the end of this game.
By utilizing Winans on Monday, the Braves were able to create an extra day of rest for each of their primary starters (Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton and Bryce Elder) during this current turn through the rotation.
Thursday’s scheduled off-day provided this opportunity. Once Sunday arrives, the club can give Winans another start or go with Elder on normal rest.
If the Braves go with Winans or call somebody up from Gwinnett to start on Sunday in San Francisco, each of the four primary starters would also get an extra day of rest heading into their second start of the road trip, which will also include stops in Denver and Los Angeles.
Michael Harris II’s two-run double in the third provided a brief lead for Winans. The Braves’ only other runs came courtesy of the home runs hit by Ozuna, who has batted .281 with 24 homers and a .892 OPS since the start of May. He exited April hitting .085 with a .397 OPS.
“He’s been a really good hitter for a long time,” Snitker said. “You just put your hope in him that he’s going to find it and get the thing going.”
Matt Olson (43), Austin Riley (29), Ozzie Albies (28) Ronald Acuña Jr. (28) and Ozuna (26) are the Braves who have already reached the 25-homer mark. There’s a chance Sean Murphy (20) and reigning National League Player of the Week Eddie Rosario (19) could end up reaching this mark.
The 2003 Red Sox (Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, Trot Nixon and Manny Ramirez) and the 2019 Twins (C.J. Cron, Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sanó and Rosario) are the only teams to have six players with 25-plus homers. No team has ever had seven players reach this mark in the same season.
Olson, Riley, Albies, Acuña and Ozuna all could easily reach 30 homers before the end of the season. The 2019 Twins (Kepler, Garver, Cruz, Sanó and Rosario) are the only team to have five players reach this mark in the same season.
That 2019 Minnesota team set the MLB season record with 307 homers. Atlanta is on pace to hit 309.