- Photos: Two more home runs for Ronald Acuna
There isn’t a hotter hitter on the planet than the Braves’ own rookie phenom.
Ronald Acuna smashed the first ball he saw over the wall for his third consecutive lead-off home run. Charlie Culberson plastered the next pitch for a 2-0 lead.
Then came the seventh inning. The teams entered in a 6-6 stalemate, and the Braves left with a four-run lead, three again courtesy of Acuna, going on to defeat the Marlins 10-6 on Tuesday night.
Ender Inciarte’s double and Dansby Swanson’s base knock to bring him home symbolized the rejuvenation of the Braves’ offense. The two players who’ve slumped despite the team’s sudden success put the team on top.
Acuna finished it: His three-run bomb pushed the advantage to 10-6 and marked his first multi-homer game. The kid has, directly and indirectly with his energy, ignited the offense since moving to leadoff after the All-Star break.
“I never have (seen anything like it) in my lifetime,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Freddie (Freeman) and I are sitting there looking at each other like ‘My God. Are we really seeing this?’ And the explosions when he hit them too.”
If the Braves qualify for the postseason, they’ll have Acuna’s out-of-world run to thank. He’s homered in a franchise-tying five consecutive games. His three straight lead-off homers are one shy of the MLB record.
Yet Miami still gave him pitches to hit. As a result, the Braves will play for a four-game sweep Wednesday.
The Marlins first tied the game on a two-run shot from J.T. Realmuto in the third. Freddie Freeman walked with one out in the bottom of the frame and scored on Johan Camargo’s double. Inciarte’s triple chased Camargo home for the fourth run.
Anibal Sanchez started, as the Braves expected even after he left his last start early due to a hit by pitch. The Marlins scattered seven hits and five runs (four earned) across five innings in one of Sanchez’s least-inspiring outings.
Sanchez ran into two-out trouble in the fourth. He gave up a double to Rafael Ortega, and Realmuto’s hit plated the go-ahead run. Kurt Suzuki’s RBI-single drew the Braves even again in the fifth. The Marlins jumped ahead again in the sixth, but Freddie Freeman’s homer tied it again.
The Phillies were upended by Boston, pushing the Braves’ National League East lead to two games. The Nationals fell to the Cardinals, dropping the preseason division favorites to 60-60 and eight games back.