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Charlie Culberson is Atlanta’s man of the moment — again

It began on Monday, in a Memorial Day doubleheader against the reeling New York Mets with storms bearing down on the Atlanta area. Down 3-2 after a homer by New York’s Devin Mesoraco in the top of ninth, Culberson came on to pinch hit with Johan Camargo on second base with one out in the bottom of the inning. The Mets had tough righty Seth Lugo on the mound. On a 1-2 count, Culberson lofted a high fastball into the second row of the left-field bleachers. Game winner.

“Those are fun,” Culberson told reporters after the game, with one of his children in his arms. “I’ll take it.”nfl jerseys for cheap

Culberson takes a lot of those walk-off homers. Way more than his fair share. Which brings us to the companion of that first bookend.

Sunday. Hot as heck in Atlanta, and don’t call it Hot-lanta because the locals don’t like it. It was over 90 degrees and humid, but SunTrust Park was again packed with increasingly excited Braves fans. The opponent this time was the Washington Nationals, who, after a 5-3, 14-inning win over Atlanta on Saturday, were bidding to leave the Braves in second place on the last day of the homestand.

With one out, brash, young shortstop Dansby Swanson stroked a single to left. Only he didn’t see it as a single. After pausing for a millisecond to deke Nationals left fielder Juan Soto, Swanson dashed for second base. Soto’s throw was just late, though second base umpire Tom Hallion had to be overruled via instant replay.26

“[Swanson] always pushes the envelope,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He comes out of the box looking for two all of the time. That was an aggressive play that started as soon as he hit the ball. It wasn’t an afterthought after he got to first. The reason that guys make those plays is they come out of the box looking to make somebody make a play.”

As it turned out, the extra base had no real effect other than what it had on Culberson, who was waiting on deck to pinch hit for reliever Arodys Vizcaino.

“We had talked about just trying to put at-bats together, and not trying to win it on one swing,” Culberson said. “It kind of started with Dansby right there. Great at-bat. Hustle double. That kind of got me in my mindset of doing the same thing.”

Nationals starter Tanner Roark was on the mound, making his first relief appearance of the season. Washington, because of the long game on Saturday and the departure of Sunday starter Jeremy Hellickson after four pitches because of an injured hamstring, was down to just a couple of available pitchers.

Down in the count 0-1, Culberson laid into a belt-high fastball and deposited it halfway up the left-field bleachers. Yup. Charlie did it again. No one could believe it. Not even Charlie. Culberson does not hit home runs. Even he will tell you that.

“Man, it happened again,” Culberson said, referring to the thought that popped in his mind when the ball left the bat. “Eight career homers and four walk-off homers. It’s kind of cool. It really is. But it was neat because the fans were into it. I heard them chanting my name. I was like, this is a neat situation.”nfl authentic jerseys cheap

Culberson may not be anything like a slugger, but when the game is on the line, he transmogrifies into a baseball version of the Incredible Hulk. Culberson’s past three home runs have been game winners. The first of the trio was the play on which Dodgers legend Vin Scully made his last official game call.

Culberson, who on top of everything else is a native of Rome, Georgia, and grew up dreaming of playing for the Braves, has clearly studied “The Idiot’s Guide to Becoming a Folk Hero.” In fact, he may have written it. Culberson became the first Atlanta Brave to have two walk-off homers in the same season. In fact, only Brian Hunter had two such homers over the course of his Atlanta career.