09 Jun

come together

In the 13-hit barrage the Atlanta Braves laid on Oakland on Wednesday night, the biggest blast might have come in the fifth inning from the rookie in the 9-hole. Michael Harris II, who was playing for the Mississippi Braves less than two weeks ago, stroked a two-run triple, a laser down the right-field line that gave the Braves their first lead in what became a 13-2 victory. It was the team’s seventh straight victory; they are unbeaten since manager Brian Snitker called a team meeting before their last game in Arizona to address lackluster play. Finally, the defending champions are playing like one should. Harris’ contributions have been subtle but impactful, especially his defense in center field. “The jumps, his arm and the reads, he’s been really, really impressive,” Snitker told mlb.com. Harris, only 21, is batting .268 with five RBIs in 11 games. He was wearing out the Double-A Southern League, hitting .305 with five homers, 33 RBIs, 33 runs, 11 steals, 16 doubles and two triples when he was somewhat surprisingly called to The Show on May 28. Atlanta has become incredibly adept at developing talent in the minors and plugging in pieces at just the right time. Harris is fitting in with a lineup that, on Wednesday, included seven former M-Braves stars. They combined for eight hits, two walks, three homers, nine RBIs and eight runs. Austin Riley, the DeSoto Central High alum, hit his 15th homer, also in that pivotal four-run fifth inning. William Contreras, seemingly from out of nowhere, has eight bombs. Starting pitcher Ian Anderson, an M-Braves alum, worked a strong six innings for his fifth win. All but one of Atlanta’s 57 games has been started by a former M-Braves pitcher. This largely homegrown team has won four straight division titles and may have launched its drive toward a fifth.

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