ATLANTA (AP) — Ian Anderson says the Atlanta Braves’ sudden turnaround is “hard to describe.”
One obvious factor in the team’s season-best, seven-game winning streak is rookie Michael Harris.
Harris gave Atlanta the lead with a two-run triple in the fifth inning that spoiled Jared Koenig’s major league debut, and the surging Braves beat the skidding Oakland Athletics 13-2 on Wednesday night.
A sellout crowd of 42,075 gave Harris an ovation, and his clutch swing triggered an outburst of extra-base hits that included four homers.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Harris said. “It got our bats rolling.”
Anderson pitched six solid innings and the Braves rallied from a 2-0 deficit for the second straight night to sweep the two-game series.
The A’s have lost eight straight and 11 of 13.
The defending World Series champion Braves struggled through most of the first two months, never winning more than two consecutive games before breaking out with their first true winning streak. It’s no coincidence the Braves found the path to consistent winning almost immediately after Harris, the team’s top prospect, was recalled from Double-A Mississippi on May 28.
Harris has impressed with his big defensive plays in center field, and he showed his offensive potential with a triple and double on Wednesday night.
“He has been really impressive, as we’ve talked, defensively, and his at-bats have been really, really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Harris, hitting .268, said: “I feel like I belong.”
The 28-year-old Koenig led 2-1 through four innings after completing his long path to the majors that included spending the 2017-19 seasons in independent leagues. The 6-foot-5 left-hander didn’t get an out in the fifth.