Even with his mastery, Soroka won’t get caught thinking about a potential All-Star appearance.
“I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other and make every start,” Soroka said. “Ever since being hurt, it’s been about days in between starts making sure I get everything I can to recover and get ready for that next one. The All-Star break is a long ways away, and there are a lot of starts to go until then, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing every start. If that happens, it’d be unbelievable, really. Just something not worth thinking about right now.”
Acuna declared leadoff his preferred lineup spot, and he’s hitting like it: He opened the night with a homer, his second consecutive leadoff shot. Monday marked his second career multi-homer game, his first since Aug. 14 against the Marlins.
There’s an undefinable spark created when Acuna leads off. Monday brought his 10th career leadoff homer, and he’s hit .400 (10-for-25) over his past six games, each from pole position.
“It changes the way you play for the rest of the game,” Acuna said, via team interpreter Franco Garcia, of starting the night with a home run. “Because the adrenaline kicks in. … I hope the energy I bring is contagious.”
Added Snitker: “Something about it. He really likes hitting there. I don’t know what it is, but he’s a different guy there. We tried the other (cleanup), and I think it probably would’ve worked, but there’s just something about that spot that he comes alive.”
As for Riley, he’s done nothing but hit in his first six major-league games, as evidenced by a .409 average. He blasted a ball to deep center, already giving him three homers. He did so a day after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, his first taste of a tough day in the bigs.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Riley said of the youngsters’ success. “Ronnie was joking with me after, he was like, ‘It’s your turn now.’ And I said I’d try (chuckles). But it’s awesome. Ronnie is a one-of-a-kind athlete and ballplayer. So is Mike. It’s just really fun to be a part of.”
As one final nod to the Braves’ rebuild, Sean Newcomb notched his first career save with a perfect ninth inning. Newcomb has looked revitalized since moving to the bullpen, attacking hitters with the consistency he hadn’t found as a starter.
The Braves start Julio Teheran in the second of the four-game series Tuesday. He opposes Giants right-hander Shaun Anderson. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.