The Braves might have missed out on home field advantage for a potential league championship series but they came up with a fitting way to close out the regular season at Turner Field: A hit fest. The Braves piled up 17 hits including the 21st home run of Evan Gattis’ rookie season to defeat the Phillies 12-5 on Sunday. Elliot Johnson drove in a career-high five runs on two hits Gerald Laird matched his career-high with four hits and four runs scored while making his second start behind the plate while Brian McCann (groin injury) sat out his third straight game. The 17 hits matched the Braves’ second highest total of the season second only to the 18 they recorded against the Phillies on July 6 at Citizens Bank Park. “Nice to get some good momentum going into the postseason” Laird said who raised his average 25 points to .281 in the season’s final game. “It was a good offensive day. Our offense has been kind of struggling here the last couple of weeks. It’s nice to come out and get some good at-bats guys get in rhythm and here we go.” The Braves lost out on the NL’s top seed after St. Louis beat the Cubs Sunday afternoon but they finished with the majors’ best home record at 56-25 and tied their franchise record for home wins in a season which they’d done four times (1996 1998 1999 2010). The Braves had already secured home field advantage for the division series which will open Thursday at Turner Field against the Dodgers with Kris Medlen facing Clayton Kershaw. “I think there’s a lot being made about home-field advantage but we’re going to count our blessings” Johnson said. “We still won 96 games. That’s a lot of games to win. We’re going to the playoffs. We’ve got to face the Dodgers at some point I would assume anyway. Let’s take Game 1 and move from there.” A crowd of 42194 Sunday helped the Braves finish the season with their highest attendance mark (2548679) since they drew 2.7 million in 2007. The crowd also got to see the team gather around the pitcher’s mound for photos with the 2013 pennant that will go up on the left field façade next season.
Braves wallop Phillies 12-5 to close regular season
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Sep 29