The two best games by an Atlanta Brave belong to one player — not Hank or Mad Dog, but a good ole’ boy with a career 4.07 ERA.
They occurred during the Braves’ inaugural season in Atlanta, one in which Tony Cloninger would lead all NL pitchers with 116 BB. Overall, a forgettable year, save for those two games that are the envy of every Brave. Hell, Babe Ruth would be jealous.
The Braves tallied 17 runs in each. Of the 34 runs scored, 14 were driven in by Cloninger.
You’ve probably read about the second of those contests. Cloninger set three records that afternoon in San Fran, becoming the first National League player to hit two grand slams in a game and the only pitcher ever to do so. And no pitcher has ever driven in 9 RBI in a game, as Cloninger did that day.
The first game, roughly three weeks earlier, previewed what was to come. Cloninger, who started the night with a .121 BA, collected three hits, including two homers, driving in 5. He didn’t pitch badly, either, going the distance, just as he would on July 3.
To sum up:
10 AB, 4 homers, 6 hits, 14 RBI
18 IP, 12 HA, 4 ER, 2 wins