MIAMI -- Ozzie Albies grew up hearing all about Andruw Jones. He is now enjoying some of the same thrills the fellow Curacao native experienced during the early days of his career with the Braves.Albies enhanced his already-impressive All-Star resume when he drilled his first career grand slam during the
MIAMI -- Ozzie Albies grew up hearing all about Andruw Jones. He is now enjoying some of the same thrills the fellow Curacao native experienced during the early days of his career with the Braves.
Albies enhanced his already-impressive All-Star resume when he drilled his first career grand slam during the sixth inning of Thursday night's 9-2 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park. The 21-year-old second baseman became the youngest Braves player to tally a slam since Jones on Aug. 31, 1997. The homer pushed across the first four of the seven runs the Braves scored in the sixth inning.
"He's the one who won us the game tonight," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "That was huge."
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Albies has consistently come up huge, helping to legitimize comparisons he's drawn to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who has also proven being vertically challenged is not a detriment. The Braves' infielder has hit .285 with 11 homers and a .908 OPS as he navigates his way through just his fourth month as a Major Leaguer.
The Nationals' Bryce Harper is the only National League player with more homers, and the Cubs' Javier Baez (.964) is the only NL second baseman with a higher OPS.
"You always feel good when those guys come to the plate," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Albies and his good friend, Ronald Acuna Jr., the 20-year-old phenom who has helped Atlanta's potent lineup score an NL-leading 196 runs.
With the game tied, 1-1, and two outs in the sixth, Snitker lifted starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz in favor of pinch-hitter Preston Tucker, who drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Albies then turned on Drew Steckenrider's 1-1 slider and watched it sail just over the top of the right-field wall.
"You've got to keep the line moving," Freeman said. "It's a tough call that Snit made there and it obviously worked out for us. Taking out Folty with him having allowed one run over five innings is tough to do. But you never know. That could be the only opportunity you get."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.