Pinch-hit hero Pablo Sandoval saves the Atlanta Braves after hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Things were not exactly going great for the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night. Not only were they down 3-1 late to the rival Philadelphia Phillies, but they lost star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. in the seventh inning to a left pinky contusion on a hit by pitch. But then, some magic occurred.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Braves watched William Contreras strike out and Cristian Pache line out, giving them one out remaining in the contest. After Ehire Adrianza walked, the Braves called upon Pablo Sandoval to pinch-hit for Tyler Matzek. And what do you know, Sandoval took a 92.6-mph fastball from Hector Neris deep to right-center field to tie the game up at three runs apiece!
Braves: Pablo Sandoval plays hero for Atlanta with pinch-hit, two-run home run vs. Phillies
Sandoval is a pinch-hit hero for a reason. The 2021 MLB season is a little over a month old, and the three-time World Series champion already has four pinch-hit homers! According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Sandoval is just one pinch-hit homer shy of tying Atlanta’s single-season record set by Butch Nieman in 1945, who hit five that year.
Entering this game, Sandoval owned a .267 batting average, .371 on-base percentage and .567 slugging percentage while recording eight RBI, six runs scored and eight hits through 24 appearances.
We can safely say that Sandoval is officially a certified home run once he enters games in pinch-hit situations. Saturday night’s game was proof of that.