In an apparent act of retaliation, Marlins pitcher José Ureña drilled the Atlanta Braves rookie outfielder with the first pitch of Wednesday night’s game
Less than 24 hours after being hit on the forearm in last night’s game against the Miami Marlins, Ronald Acuña Jr and the Atlanta Braves received some great news following his Thursday morning CT scan:
The beanball, which triggered a benches-clearing confrontation on the infield at SunTrust Park, came after Acuña nearly single-handedly dismantled the Marlins in the series’ previous three contests.
Acuña, who had already hit 4 home runs in the series (3 of which were 1st inning leadoff blasts), was looking to extend his record-setting streak as the youngest player in MLB history to homer in five consecutive games. In equally ridiculous fashion, Acuña also became the 4th player in MLB history to lead off both games of a doubleheader with a home run AND became just the 2nd player ever to accomplish the feat in three consecutive games.
Now, to step up on my soapbox…
In what was clearly a cowardly and bush-league move in Wednesday’s series finale, Marlins starting pitcher José Ureña took matters into his own hands by throwing a 98 mph running fastball directly at Acuña’s torso.
The infuriating play, and the seeming lack of regard by Ureña, resulted in both dugouts and bullpens emptying, with Braves manager Brian Snitker leading the charge for the home team. Clearly upset and enraged, Snitker made it known to everyone in the stadium what he thought of the classless antics by Ureña and was soon shown the door by the umpiring crew.
In a rare display of umpiring competence, the officials also ejected Ureña in an attempt to restore order in what had turned into a contentious and uncomfortable setting. With no punches thrown, both teams resumed play and managed to get through the matchup without further incident.
The Braves were clearly rattled for several innings, as Miami managed to take a 2-0 lead. With Braves hitters noticeably trying (unsuccessfully) to take their rage out on the opposing pitcher, cult hero Charlie Culberson finally managed to break through with a double to the left field gap. After stealing third, Ender Inciarte drove him home on a groundout to break the scoring seal for Atlanta.
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Behind a 2-run homer by Dansby Swanson and strong pitching from starter Kevin Gausman and the bullpen, the Atlanta Braves took the lead and held on to win by a final score of 5-2.
With the Braves win, they maintained their 2 game lead in the NL East race over Philadelphia, while Washington continued to plummet down the standings with a loss. The Nationals are now 9 games out of first place with just a quarter of the season remaining.
Assuming that Snitker gives Acuña a few days off to heal, the young star will be able to revisit his home run streak in his next appearance. Per MLB rules, a player hit by a pitch in his only at-bat and forced to exit the game due to injury does not result in the end of multi-game batting streaks. Thus, when Acuña returns to action, Braves fans will have the opportunity to see him make a run at 6 consecutive games with a home run.
And luckily for Braves fans, they won’t have to wait long, as the Atlanta Braves announced that Ronald Acuna will be in the lineup Thursday night.