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New Extra-Inning Rule Helps Guide Braves To First Win

Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuna Jr. during a game against the SF Giants at Suntrust Park in Atlanta, Ga,
( Photo/Tom DiPace)

It took the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets just two games to test one of Major League Baseball’s newest provisions. With the game tied 2-2, Adam Duvall entered the top of the 10th inning on second base. He then scored on the first hit.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson delivered the jolt in dramatic fashion after getting behind with an 0-2 count. It was Swanson’s second hit in as many days. The former SEC standout narrowly missed an extra-base hit when he roped a ball just outside the left field line in a previous at-bat.

The contest was eerily reminiscent of Friday’s 1-0 showdown that featured two of the game’s best pitchers. Atlanta broke the silence Saturday in the second inning when Duvall sliced a solo home run to right field. The Mets answered with two runs in the fourth. Aside from Duvall’s early homer, the Braves offense was void of any spark.

Then, in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and two strikes, offseason addition Marcell Ozuna made a lasting impression for his new team. The Braves’ new slugger tied things up in the eleventh hour with a solo home run of his own. His blast led to extra innings after Luke Jackson forced three outs in the bottom of the ninth.

The 10th inning allowed for the second glance of MLB’s new runner-on-second rule. As part of a new directive to shorten games, a team must use the player who made the last out, or a pinch-runner, on second base when starting a new half inning after a full nine.

Friday’s game between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels featured extended innings as well. So far, the new order has led to a flurry of runs. Oakland’s Matt Olson ultimately hit a game-winning grand slam.

After Swanson’s slap into the outfield on Saturday, Atlanta proceeded to score two more runs. William Contreras, one of the Braves’ top prospects, capped off the rally with an RBI double. It was the catcher’s first major league hit. Jackson then closed things out en route to a 5-3 Atlanta victory.

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