Atlanta Braves’ Dansby Swanson watches his three-run RBI during the second inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, July 4, 2022 (July 5 in Manila), in Atlanta. AP PHOTO
Atlanta Braves’ Dansby Swanson watches his three-run RBI during the second inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, July 4, 2022 (July 5 in Manila), in Atlanta. AP PHOTO

ATLANTA: At the midpoint of the season, manager Brian Snitker says the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves have made an impressive recovery from a slow start.

Perhaps the most impressive resurgence belongs to Dansby Swanson.

Swanson hit a three-run double in a five-run second inning and the Braves held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) in a game delayed more than 2 1/2 hours by rain.

"Unbelievable," said Snitker of Swanson's continued hot hitting.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

"It's solid now," the manager added. "It's not a small sample size any longer."

St. Louis loaded the bases for a couple of big hitters in the ninth, but Will Smith struck out Nolan Arenado and retired Albert Pujols on a grounder back to the mound for his fifth save.

Swanson's bases-loaded double was the big hit against Dakota Hudson (6-5) in the second. Swanson also doubled and scored in the first.

Swanson was hitting only.236 on May 23. Since then, he has the most hits in the majors while raising his batting average to.304. His 37 hits in June were the most by a Braves shortstop in a month since Omar Infante's 43 in August 2010.

"He deserves all his success and he's going to keep doing it just because of the way he works," said Braves right-hander Kyle Wright, who allowed no earned runs in four innings.

The surge has come as Swanson is approaching possible free agency while being represented by the same Excel Sports Management, including agent Casey Close, used by former Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.