The Braves (7-9) defeated the Cubs 13-4 Sunday night, winning two of three at Wrigley Field ahead of Monday’s off day. The victory was overshadowed by Ronald Acuna’s health after the young star left the game with an abdominal strain.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday:
1. Acuna’s early exit loomed over the rest of the game. Acuna drew a walk to reach base in the fourth inning. He appeared to be injured on a pick-off attempt and continued pointing at his middle area. He advanced to second base following a walk to Freddie Freeman, and after speaking with manager Brian Snitker, Acuna stayed in.
Acuna scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly, making a hands-first slide into home. He left the game afterwards. Snitker confirmed Acuna suffered an abdominal strain. The Braves will evaluate him further during Monday’s off day and determine whether he’ll need time on the injured list.
2. A couple days after Snitker said he wanted to see outfielder Guillermo Heredia be more aggressive at the plate, the 30-year-old had the game of his life. Heredia had two homers, including a grand slam, and six RBIs as part of a three-hit night. He matched his home run total and exceeded his RBI total (five) from last season (15 games) in just Sunday’s game alone.
From STATS: Heredia is the first Braves player to have six or more RBIs in a game from the No. 8 spot in the lineup since RBI became an official stat in 1920. It was a remarkable performance by Heredia, whom the Braves claimed off waivers from the Mets during spring training and is only playing now due to injuries.
“Immediately joining the team, I knew I was joining a high-caliber organization,” Heredia said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “It was going to be tough to crack through. But I knew my job coming into spring training was to go out there and play well. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the team, but that didn’t derail me or my focus. I wanted to make sure I stayed ready if the opportunity came and stayed focused on everything I needed to to perform.”
3. One day after the Cubs homered six times in a 13-4 win, the Braves hit four homers in just the first inning to spark their 13-4 win. Freddie Freeman, Travis d’Arnaud, Ehire Adrianza and Heredia each went deep to give the Braves a near-immediate 6-0 lead.
“We’ve been grinding to get this offensive thing going, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction,” Snitker said.
4. Each of the homers came off Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks, who became the first Cubs pitcher to allow four first-inning home runs. Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo homered in the bottom of the frame, making it five total home runs in the first inning, which was an MLB-high since an Astros-Orioles game Aug. 19, 2016.
Credit: Nam Y. Huh
Credit: Nam Y. Huh
5. Bryse Wilson had mixed results in his return to the rotation. Wilson allowed three runs (two earned) across five innings. It was his first start since outdueling Clayton Kershaw in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series last October.
Stat of the game
4 (The Braves have four four-homer innings in the past 20 years. Before Sunday, they did so June 11, 2019, May 28, 2003, and May 20, 2001. In the history of the Atlanta Braves, Sunday was their second four-homer first inning, joining the 2003 Braves who achieved such on the aforementioned date.)
Braves 13, Cubs 4 (box score)
“My first grand slam, I think was when I was in Double-A with the Mariners.” - Heredia, who belted his first major-league grand slam Sunday
The Braves are off Monday before beginning a two-game series Tuesday against the Yankees in New York. The Yankees are reeling at 5-10, their worst start since 1997 and currently the worst record in the American League. After getting swept by the Rays this weekend, they’ve lost five in a row.
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