The Atlanta Braves are riding high, and Ron Gant is the guy carrying the team on his shoulders lately.
Gant did it again Friday night when he delivered a run-scoring double in the 10th inning to give Atlanta a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets at Atlanta, keeping the Braves four games ahead of San Francisco in the National League West.
“Ronnie’s been something. He’s got half the club on his shoulders now,” Manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s been Mr. Clutch.”
Gant, making a strong bid for the most-valuable-player award, has 17 runs batted in during his last six games and has the league lead with 109. He hit a grand slam against Cincinnati on Tuesday and won Wednesday’s game against the Reds with a three-run homer in the bottom of ninth against Rob Dibble.
“This is the best I’ve felt in my career,” Gant said. “I’ve done some things, but during this period it has really been something.”
The victory was Atlanta’s fourth in a row, ninth in 10 games and 30th in 36, a blistering .833 percentage. They are 45-14 since the All-Star break and 42-12 since acquiring Fred McGriff.
Gant’s game-winning double Friday took one hop and bounced off the center-field fence, scoring Otis Nixon, who led off the inning with a walk. Jeff Blauser sacrificed Nixon to second before Gant’s long drive against Mike Maddux (3-8).
Met center fielder Dave Gallagher was playing shallow, and Gant’s shot sailed over his head.
“No, we weren’t playing too shallow,” Met Manager Dallas Green said. “The ball was hit to the base of the fence.”