There was an expectation that this most unusual baseball season would produce some most unusual results. How about this one: Braves 29, Marlins 9?
The Braves scored the most runs in modern National League history on Wednesday night. Freddie Freeman, who was 3 for 6 with a home run for the Braves, told reporters, “Hard to put into words, really.”
Let’s try anyway.
Were the 29 runs a major league record?
No. The Braves surpassed the previous National League record, set by the Cardinals in 1929 in a 28-6 romp over the Phillies. The Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley was 4 for 5 with seven runs batted in that day.
But the Braves were one short of the major league record of 30 runs, set by the Rangers against the Orioles in 2007. In that game, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez each had two homers and seven R.B.I.
How does it stack up against premodern records?
Those still seem untouchable. Back in the 19th century, when baseball was a dramatically different game, teams scored at least 30 runs eight times. The record from that era is 36, set by the Chicago Colts, now the Cubs, in a game against the Louisville Colonels in 1897. They put up that formidable total with the benefit of only two home runs.
Were conditions ripe for Wednesday’s record?
Given that the National League is using the designated hitter in every game for the first time this season, league scoring records would seem to be in danger even in a short season. But blaming weak opposition doesn’t work this time. Though the Marlins won a paltry 57 games last year, they are on target to make the expanded playoffs this season, and their pitching staff’s earned run average (4.63) is not far off the league average.
Was the tone set early?
No. The Braves failed to score in the first inning and then fell behind by 2-0 in the top of the second.
But then, yes. Atlanta scored 11 runs in their half of the second, nine of them with two out. (The Marlins unsuccessfully appealed a close play at third base that would have been the third out with the score only 2-2.) In the inning, the Braves had three homers, five singles, three walks and a stolen base.
The first seven runs were charged to the Marlins starter Pablo Lopez, and the last four to Jordan Yamamoto.
Yamamoto would eventually be charged with 13 runs, though only 12 of them were earned. By the time he was yanked in the fifth inning, after giving up 11 hits, 2 walks and 4 homers, the Marlins trailed, 19-8, and Yamamoto’s E.R.A. was a robust 18.26.
Did it get any worse?
It got worse.
Five players had three hits for the Braves, and all 10 men who played recorded at least one. Three players scored five runs, and three drove in at least that many.
There were plenty of player of the game candidates, but let’s give it to Adam Duvall, who had nine R.B.I., tying a franchise record set by Tony Cloninger in 1966.
You think this game was weird? Cloninger was a pitcher, and he never had more than eight R.B.I. in any other season. And yes, we didn’t forget Hank Aaron, the Braves icon and all-time R.B.I. leader. He never had more than six in a game.
Duvall, who has been playing in the major leagues since 2014, had three home runs Wednesday. He has had one other career three-homer game. It was last week.
Is the game a sign of things to come?
Does a game like this mean the Braves are on a hot streak and ready to score dozens of runs in the days ahead? Probably not. The night before this record-breaking performance, the Marlins shut them out.