Hollywood was the perfect backdrop for a nail-biting win on an historic night for the Braves Thursday. Ronald Acuña Jr. hammered a Lance Lynn offering into the left-center bleachers with the bases loaded in the second inning. It was Acuna’s 30th home run of the season, making him the only member of the 30 HR/60 SB club.
Austin Riley followed Acuña’s blast one out later with a solo shot of his own to give Atlanta a 6-1 lead. Atlanta added another run on Michael’s Harris II’s solo shot in the fifth and it seemed there would be no drama in Hollywood this night.
Strider electric, ‘pen not so much
Spencer Strider settled in after giving up a run in the first, but Mookie Betts has entered the MVP race in August and showed why in the fifth. Betts has been on a heater in August! He hit a 3-2 fastball from Strider off the top of wall in right, cutting the deficit to 7-4. Betts’ offense is one reason he’s in the race, but defense may be what pushes him over the Acuña hump. Ronald didn’t time this play very well and just missed making the catch. If you’ll recall, Betts made a similar play against the Braves an NLCS or two ago. SIGH…
Strider got thru six, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out nine and picked up his 16th win of the season. More importantly, the Braves improved to 22-5 in games Strider has started this season. Leading 8-4, Brian Snitker had the bullpen lined up the way he wanted it. Michael Busch and Betts hit solo homers off Joe Jimenez in the seventh, though, making things interesting. The annoying Max Muncy also played a part. He pulled the Dodgers within a run on a solo shot off AJ Minter in the eighth, creating the ninth-inning drama.
Raisel Iglesias got Betts to fly out to lead off the ninth, but then walked Freddie Freeman. The more-annoying-than-Max-Muncy, Will Smith, singled to left and the Dodgers were in business. However, Iglesias induced a fly-out from Muncy on a beautiful change-up, and then filleted Keke Hernandez on three pitches to save the day.
What a show!
What a show! The two best teams in the game, and the two best players in the NL put on a show in this one. But it was the Braves who earned the nail-biting win on an historic night. Acuña was 3-for-4 with a stolen base – and oh yeah, I almost forgot – he got marries yesterday morning! A day he and Braves fans will not soon forget.
Continue to enjoy the ride, Braves fans! This is one special player, and one special team.