The Braves fell behind the Marlins 5-0 early in Wednesday’s game. Then Ronald Acuna went to work: He homered twice, doubled and scored three runs, helping spark a furious Braves comeback that forced extra innings. The team couldn’t finish the rally, however, and lost 6-5 in extras.
It was the Braves’ third straight loss to the Marlins, two of which have come in extra innings. They’ll try to avoid being swept in the four-game series Thursday afternoon.
1. Pick whichever superlative and it will describe Acuna’s current run. He’s been the best player in the National League – and perhaps MLB – through 12 games. He’s showing newfound patience and discipline at the plate while maintaining his aggressive nature. Every swing has intent. Every hit feels vicious.
Acuna has six home runs, including two multi-homer games. He also scored three runs Wednesday. The only reason the Braves had a chance was because of their superstar, who’s essentially a one-man wrecking crew while the rest of the offense struggles. His production has helped the Braves stay afloat during their uninspiring start.
“He can’t do it all,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We have guys capable of (making this a) deep lineup. This lineup is going to get going. It can be a deep lineup, it’s not right now, but it will be.”
2. A remarkable stat from Elias: Acuna has 13 extra-base hits this season. He’s matched Hank Aaron for the most extra-base hits by a Braves player through 12 games since 1900. The Braves’ record for most extra-base hits is 22, set by Ozzie Albies in 2018. The major-league record for April belongs to Jermaine Dye with 23.
“I feel good and the most important thing for me is I feel healthy,” Acuna said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “Nothing has really changed. I’m just going out, playing hard and trying to have fun.”
3. Braves starter Charlie Morton wasn’t his best. Morton allowed five runs on seven hits across six innings. He did have nine strikeouts, but the Marlins found success when they made contact. The greatest blow came on Jazz Chisholm’s three-run homer that opened up a 5-0 lead.
4. Among the issues with the Braves’ offense is hitting with runners in scoring position. They entered Wednesday hitting just .208 (16-for-77) in such situations, which was the sixth-lowest average in MLB. A night after going 4-for-13 in the category, the Braves went 1-for-5 in a tight loss.
5. Ender Inciarte made his first start in center field since Cristian Pache went down with a left-groin injury Tuesday. Inciarte, who’s expected to handle the bulk of center-field duties in Pache’s absence, reached base three times with a walk and two singles. He also made an excellent throw from mid-to-deep center to nail Jorge Alfaro on an attempted double and end the Marlins’ half of the sixth.
His night ended on a sour note when he hit into a double play with none out in the ninth, but it was nonetheless his best showing of the season.
Stat of the game
.447 (Ronald Acuna’s batting average. The next-highest average for a Braves regular: Travis d’Arnaud’s .231 mark)
Marlins 6, Braves 5 - 10 innings (box score)
“We can’t just wait on Ronald to hit a homer every at-bat. It’s not going to happen. He’s a great player but he’s going to make an out every now and then.” - Brian Snitker on the Braves’ reliance on Acuna
The Braves and Marlins conclude their series Thursday at 12:20 p.m. Ian Anderson will face Trevor Rogers. It will be the final game of the Braves’ first homestand.
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