Olson hits 51st home run, tying Braves' franchise record

Atlanta can clinch the NL East Wednesday with a win in the series finale

September 13th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA --  tied the Braves’ franchise record for homers, and with more than two weeks left in the season, the Braves have already set a new National League home run record.

The Braves staged another long ball party while reducing their magic number to two with a 7-6, 10-inning win over the Phillies on Tuesday night. But it was ’s tenacious plate appearance against Craig Kimbrel that positioned Atlanta to come to Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday with a chance to clinch its sixth straight National League East crown.

“It feels like we’re anxiously awaiting the celebration,” Rosario said through interpreter Franco García. “I feel very lucky. We’ve done a lot of celebrating ever since I got to Atlanta. I’m ready for it.” 

  • Games remaining (17): at PHI (1), at MIA (3), vs. PHI (3), at WSH (4), vs. CHC (3), vs. WSH (3)
  • Standings update: The Braves lead the second-place Phillies by 16 games in the National League East race. Atlanta is currently the top NL division leader, meaning it would receive a first-round bye and face the winner of the No. 4 and No. 5 Wild Card teams in a five-game NL Division Series starting on Oct. 7.
  • Magic number: For postseason berth: 0; for division title: 2

Rosario fell behind 0-2 and then fouled four straight 1-2 fastballs, while waiting for a curveball. He finally relented by looking for the fastball he laced through the right side to provide a lead Brad Hand protected with a perfect 10th. Hand took the onus off Joe Jiménez, who surrendered homers to Bryce Harper and Bryson Stott during Philadelphia’s three-run eighth. Trea Turner then hit a game-tying homer in the ninth against Braves closer Raisel Iglesias, who has allowed runs in four of his five September appearances. 

“[The Phillies scare] me as much as any team in the game, quite honestly, with that firepower they've got,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We saw it right there. If they've got a strike left, they're dangerous.”

This is essentially what every opposing manager has thought while having to deal with the Braves’ relentless lineup.

Olson’s 51 home runs tied the franchise record Andruw Jones set in 2005. The Braves tallied three homers through the first five innings of Tuesday’s game to increase their season total to 281, which is two more than the NL record the Dodgers set in 2019.  

The Braves are on pace to tally 311 homers, which would be four more than the MLB record set by the 2019 Twins.

“We got it today?” Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud asked of the NL record. “You don’t really notice it when you are going through it because it feels normal, and it’s kind of what’s been going all year.” 

Come to think of it, Olson might have been providing a clue when he homered eight times in 47 at-bats during Spring Training. 

Olson's record-tying homer was an opposite-field shot off Phillies starter Zack Wheeler. Both Olson and Wheeler were young Braves fans growing up in suburban Atlanta when Jones enjoyed his 51-homer season.

“It’s a cool feeling,” Olson said. “I watched him growing up. So, I know the kind of player he was. It’s cool to be mentioned with him.”

’s two-run homer off Wheeler in the fifth gave the Braves the new NL record for homers with 280, which passed the 2019 Dodgers. Marcell Ozuna added to that total four batters later when he hit a three-run shot off Wheeler, who seemed to align with the many Philadelphia fans who have loudly booed Acuña during the series.

“Olson, we pitched him away the first at-bat,” Wheeler said. “And then he just got to that one. That might have been the cause of that. Same thing with Ozuna. I think we finished him with a bunch of high heaters in and so, then the next at-bat, he was on that. And then I just hung the curveball to ... what's his name? Acuña?"

A rematch of the Phillies and Braves in the NL Division Series could be a lot of fun.

Acuña is just three home runs shy of what would be the fifth 40-homer, 40-steal season. It would also be the first 40-60 season as he already has 65 stolen bases. Nobody has ever tallied more than 46 steals during a 40-homer season.

Olson leads MLB in both home runs and RBIs. No other player has more than 44 homers. The Braves’ first baseman’s 128 RBIs are 25 more than any other player. He is seven shy of the Braves' modern franchise record Eddie Mathews set in 1953. Gary Sheffield set the Atlanta season record when he drove in 132 runs in 2003.

Ozuna’s fifth-inning homer was his 34th of the season, matching Austin Riley for the team’s third-highest total. If either of these two players hit at least six more home runs, and Acuña hits at least three more, it would mark just the fourth time a team has had three players hit 40-plus homers in a season.

The 1996 Rockies (Ellis Burks, Vinny Castilla and Andrés Galarraga) and '97 Rockies (Galarraga, Castilla and Larry Walker) are the most recent clubs to do this. The only team from the non-Coors Field division to do this was the '73 Braves (Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson and Darrell Evans). 

Olson has supplied a majority of the power. But when asked what he was most proud of this year, he said, “Our record.”