The Braves fought tooth-and-nail to win Saturday night’s game against the Diamondbacks 5-4, scoring twice in the 10th inning. The Braves then held the D-Backs to one run in the bottom half of the 10th thanks to a heads-up, game-ending play by shortstop Dansby Swanson.
On Sunday, the Braves did it again. Trailing 4-2 in the top of the eighth, Freddie Freeman singled in a run to cut the deficit to one run. Facing closer Brad Boxberger in the ninth, the Braves put their first two runners on base with singles from Tyler Flowers and Ozzie Albies. Ender Inciarte then belted a go-ahead three-run home run to right-center field.
The Braves weren’t even done after that. Lucas Duda hit a one-out solo homer off of Yoan López. Ronald Acuña then tripled and promptly scored on a two-run home run by Johan Camargo, pushing the score to 9-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, the D-Backs managed to scrape across a run but wound up losing 9-5. As the Phillies lost to the Mets on Sunday, the Braves pushed their NL East lead to a season-high 4.5 games. The Braves were also up 4.5 games after beating the Rays on August 28.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.