Braves Clinch 2nd Straight NL East Title with 6-0 Win over Giants

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 21, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - SEP 20: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after hitting a two run home run in the fifth inning of an MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park on September 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves locked up their second straight National League East title Friday after beating the San Francisco Giants 6-0.

Brian McCann and Ronald Acuna Jr. each hit home runs, and Ozzie Albies added a couple of hits. Mike Foltynewicz dominated on the mound, striking out seven batters over eight scoreless innings. The right-hander allowed just three hits, all of which came off leadoff hitter Mike Yastrzemski's bat.

The 95-60 Braves have an outside shot at catching the 98-55 Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL playoff bracket's No. 1 seed. Their magic number to ensure themselves of the No. 2 seed (and home-field advantage in the National League Division Series) sits at one over the 87-67 St. Louis Cardinals.

Atlanta has been in first place alone since June 12. A 17-2 stretch spanning from Aug. 17 to Sept. 7 all but sealed the division for the Braves, who are seeking their first NL pennant since 1999.

The Braves have only gone 6-6 since that scorching-hot run, but Atlanta has the pieces in place to make a World Series run. A powerful and deep lineup featured three players with at least 37 home runs in third baseman Josh Donaldson, first baseman Freddie Freeman and Acuna.

Austin Riley may have joined that group if he was with the club from Opening Day, as the midseason call-up has smacked 18 home runs in 75 games.

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On the mound, the Braves are fifth in the National League in ERA, but the pitching has drastically improved of late thanks in part to Foltynewicz's efforts. The right-hander, who was sent down to the minor leagues in June after registering a 6.37 ERA, has allowed just two earned runs in his last 26 innings.

The Braves have also dominated on the road, sporting the NL's best record at 46-30.

Atlanta will open the postseason on Thurs., Oct. 3 against a to-be-determined opponent.

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