Tuesday night, all-world right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. stepped up to the plate and on the very first pitch of the game, took Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Ryan deep. Acuña Jr. would hit two home runs on the night and the Atlanta Braves did not look back, cruising to a 6-2 victory in front of a sold out Truist Park.
The Braves are now 26-15 at home, the best home record in the National League.
In addition to Ronald’s two homers, Austin Riley, Michael Harris II and catcher Sean Murphy each hit home runs as the Braves scored their six runs in the first two innings. Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan was battered and bruised, even though he came into Tuesday’s game with eight wins.
“Now the important thing for me is to stay healthy and to help the team in any way that I can,” Acuña Jr. said. “And that’s what’s been happening. I still think the power is there might not be every night but I think it’s always there.”
Even though Shohei Ohtani is in a class all by himself, Acuña Jr. is definitely with him on the island of relevancy. The Braves right fielder became the second player in Major League Baseball history to have 50 RBIs and 35 stolen bases before July 1st. The only other player to accomplish that feat was the late, great Joe Morgan.
The Braves have hit 146 home runs this season which outpaces the Los Angeles Dodgers as this story was written. Moreover, the Braves are on pace for 293 home runs, which would be the most in National League history.
Bryce Elder pitched six strong innings, giving up only two earned runs, while striking out four Minnesota batters. He secured the win tonight. Moreover, the Twins left nine runners on base as the right hander kept the ball down and the defense behind him helped him out.
Elder currently leads the National League with a 2.44 earned run average before the final selections are made for the All-Star Game. When asked how he felt about that stat, he brushed it aside, as he maintained his perspective on the more important things, like his overall performance.
“I feel like I gotta start in five days,” Elder said. “I mean, now, a year ago I was 6-and-5 and in Triple A. I’m going to keep doing the same thing regardless of whether you get a vote or however it works. I don’t even know how it works, but I mean it’d be great if I did. I’m not I’m not acting like it wouldn’t look good, but I’ve got another five days and it was a little bit sloppy tonight. So I got some more work to do.”
Elder’s comments are emblematic of the mindset instilled by Braves manager Brian Snitker and third base coach Ron Washington.
“Wash, with all the trash talking, he says: If you’re talking about tomorrow, you haven’t done anything today. I think that’s true. And when we try to live by that, tomorrow’s another day to come back out and get back after it,” said Braves third baseman Austin Riley.
Kolby Allard will get the spot start for the Braves tomorrow afternoon. Even though Michael Soroka is in Triple A Gwinnett, Snitker completely shut down any belief that Soroka isn’t ready to return to the big leagues.