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Braves' 26th man keys doubleheader split

@castrovince
April 21, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Shane Carle knew the drill. Here today, gone tomorrow. Literally. That’s the life of the 26th man, added to the big league roster strictly for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Indians. But No. 26 on the roster was, you could say, No. 1 in the result. Because while Ronald

CLEVELAND -- Shane Carle knew the drill. Here today, gone tomorrow. Literally. That’s the life of the 26th man, added to the big league roster strictly for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Indians.

But No. 26 on the roster was, you could say, No. 1 in the result. Because while Ronald Acuña Jr. was the ninth-inning hero for the Braves with his go-ahead two-run double to cap a thrilling 8-7 comeback win at Progressive Field, Carle was the one who made the comeback possible with 3 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

“It felt good,” said Carle, who was headed back down to Triple-A Gwinnett. “Obviously you know your role, being the 26th man. It’s unfortunate that I got into the game as soon as I did, but you’ve got to do what you can, you know?”

Carle was in the game early because starter Touki Toussaint was all over the place in his 1 1/3 innings of work, allowing seven runs. Carle came onto the scene with the bases loaded and the Braves in a 5-0 hole. He immediately gave up a two-run double to Jake Bauers, and it appeared the doors were coming off the hinges for the Braves’ bullpen yet again.

But from that point forward, Carle kept the Indians at bay. And while the Braves’ bats struggled to generate much against Tribe starter Trevor Bauer, Carle’s ability to push it to the sixth without that seven becoming an eight or more was, in retrospect, the real key to the ballgame. Especially with the Braves struggling to find reliable relief right now.

“We needed him to stretch the game and try to get it down to workable innings,” said manager Brian Snitker, “and he did.”

Carle, who now has a 5.40 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, will be optioned back to Gwinnett for already the third time in this young season. That’s life on the bullpen bubble. But he’ll be back again.

“Whatever they need,” he said. “That’s what I’m here to do.”

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.