The Atlanta Braves won yet another extra-inning game with a 5-4 win in 10 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night. Here are three observations from the game: 1. Andrelton Simmons puts on his cape for the first time In the ninth inning, it was Freddie Freeman who nearly played the game's hero. The Braves first baseman belted a shot to deep right-center off Pirates closer Jason Grilli, one that brought the Turner Field crowd to its feet. And it would have handed Atlanta its game-winning hit had Pittsburgh's All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen not flown in to snag the ball at the wall for an impressive out. The catch sent the game to the Braves' eighth extra-inning affair of the campaign. Someone should have warned the Pirates, though, that the hometown team keeps finding ways to come through in such situations — the Braves (36-22) feature the second-most extra-inning wins (6) in baseball, one behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. So, in the very next inning, following a walk and a hit-by-pitch, it was Simmons, the Braves' young shortstop and leadoff hitter, who strode to the plate with the game on the line. He boasted a .205 batting average with runners on base entering Tuesday's game, but he carried a 2 for 4 night to the plate against reliever Mark Melancon (0.90 ERA). Then, he put on his cape. As game-winning doubles go, it was a strange sight: the Pirates outfielders appeared to stop chasing the ball as it sailed toward the wall (despite similar location to Freeman's near-homer 15 minutes prior), the Braves were delayed in pouring out of the dugout in celebration, the fans' reaction was surprisingly mundane. It was just ... odd. Eventually, though, the gravity of Simmons' accomplishment set in — or so it seemed. The chase was on soon enough. "I was just trying to make sure I made good contact," he said. "I made the adjustment to go the other way and fortunately I did it." Simmons said it was the first game-winning hit of his career at any level, and certainly in the majors. Simmons is hitting at a.356 clip during his current 10-game winning streak, proving himself more than capable of handling Atlanta's No. 1 spot in the lineup. He's playing well, even putting a string of defensive lapses last week behind him. His on-field celebration ended with 6-foot-5 teammate Jason Heyward carrying him off the field like a bale of hay — another strange, but deserving exit for the 23-year-old. "It was weird seeing everybody run and chase me down was kind of an awkward feeling. I didn't know what to do," he said. "They are big guys. I made sure I protected myself."
Simmons, Braves walk-off against Pirates 5-4 in 10 innings
Fox Sports South | Jun 5