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Braves tie season record with 307 homers, going deep 3 times in 10-9 loss to Nationals

ATLANTA (AP) — One final power milestone for the Atlanta Braves was especially memorable for Marcell Ozuna.

The Braves homered three times to tie the major league season record of 307 but lost their regular-season finale 10-9 to the Washington Nationals on Sunday as Jacob Young drove in two runs with a go-ahead single in the ninth.

Ozuna homered twice, reaching 40 with a ninth-inning drive off Kyle Finnegan, and had four RBIs to reach 100 for the first time since 2017. He batted .274, remarkable final stats for a player who hit two homers in his first 18 games and was batting .189 on May 19.

“People didn’t believe the way I believe in myself,” Ozuna said.

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When he walked in the seventh, he thought he wouldn’t have another opportunity to hit No. 40.

“God gave me another chance, and I did it,” Ozuna said, adding “it feels amazing.”

Atlanta matched the season home-run record set by the 2019 Minnesota Twins. The Braves set a major league record with a .501 slugging percentage, topping the .495 for the 2019 Houston Astros.

“It’s been a good year for a lot of us,” said Matt Olson, whose 54 homers and 137 RBIs led the majors. “It doesn’t end now. This is when the fun starts.”

The Braves are the first team with four players with at least 35 homers, with MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. (41) and Austin Riley (37) joining Olson and Ozuna. Ozzie Albies hit 33 homers.

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Atlanta finished a major league-best 104-58 and opens the Division Series on Oct. 7 against Philadelphia or Miami. The Braves have scheduled intrasquad games from Tuesday through Thursday.

Atlanta also topped 100 wins last year, going 101-61 before losing to the Phillies in the Division Series.

Washington was last in the NL East for the fourth straight season, improving to 71-91 from 55-107.

Michael Tonkin (7-3) blew an 8-7 lead in the ninth, issuing a bases-loaded walk to Drew Milas that tied the score. Young followed with the two-run single.

Finnegan also gave up a double to Michael Harris II but finished the ninth for his 28th save in 36 chances.

Orlando Arcia’s run-scoring single off Hunter Harvey (4-4) in the eighth gave Atlanta a one-run lead.

EARLY OVATION

Braves manager Brian Snitker orchestrated an opportunity for Acuña to receive an ovation in the second inning.

Acuña, who on Wednesday night became the first player to hit at least 40 homers and steal at least 70 bases in a season, took his position in right field to open the inning. Snitker then sent out Kevin Pillar to replace Acuña. who received the ovation as he tipped his cap to fans on his return to the dugout.

Acuña, who struck out in his only at-bat, hit .337 with 41 homers, 106 RBIs and major league-leading totals of 73 steals, 217 hits, 149 runs and 383 total bases.

Snitker also gave Olson an early rest and said Riley, who finished with 97 RBIs, preferred to remain in the game to chase 100.

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“Those are big numbers for the guys,” Snitker said.

SPEED RECORD FOR NATIONALS

CJ Abrams’ two stolen bases gave him a Nationals-record 47. Trea Turner had 46 steals in 2017.

TRAINER’S ROOM

LHP Max Fried (left index finger blister) is scheduled to throw on Tuesday in the first intrasquad game. Snitker said the plan could change. When asked if Fried would have tape on the finger where he has had a blister, Snitker said “That’s to be determined.” If Fried throws without difficulty, he could be on pace to start in one of the first two games of the NL Division Series. … RHP Charlie Morton (right index finger inflammation) was away from the team for a family emergency but “should be able to go” if the Braves advance to the NLCS. … The Braves placed RHP Jackson Stephens (right elbow inflammation) on 15-day injured list, retroactive to Saturday, to clear a spot for Dodd’s recall.

TRUIST PARK RECORD

The Braves set a Truist Park record with attendance of 3,191,505, including Sunday’s sellout of 40,697, The old record was 3,129,931 last season, following Atlanta’s 2021 World Series title. The Braves had 54 sellouts in 81 home games.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington will open its 2024 spring training schedule on Feb. 24 against Houston at their West Palm Beach, Florida facility.

Braves: The Braves host the Marlins or Phillies in their postseason opener Oct. 7.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb