Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Ronald Acuna Jr. joins 40-40 club, Braves beat Nats on road

Field Level Media
23 Sep 2023, 13:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports)

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley homered in the first inning, and the Atlanta Braves defeated the host Washington Nationals 9-6 to move closer to the 100-win mark Friday night.

Marcell Ozuna smashed a three-run homer in the seventh, and Riley drove in runs on three separate plate appearances to finish with four runs batted in for the National League East champion Braves (99-55).

Acuna led off the game with his 40th home run of the season. He became just the fifth player to join the 40-40 club with his 68 steals. He's the only player in MLB history to have 40 or more home runs and 60 or more steals in the same year.

Two batters after Acuna, Riley's 37th homer gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead before an out was recorded.

The Nationals (68-87) have lost the first two games of their final home series of the season after a two-game win streak to end the previous series against the Chicago White Sox.

Braves starter Charlie Morton was done after one scoreless inning; the right-hander walked two. He departed because of discomfort in his right index finger, according to information from the team.

Michael Tonkin (7-2) was the winning pitcher with two innings of relief.

The first three batters in Atlanta's lineup all had two hits and the group combined to drive in six runs.

Patrick Corbin (10-14) took the loss, giving up five runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. CJ Abrams drove in three runs, and Jake Alu had two hits for Washington.

Riley's sacrifice fly in the third inning pushed the Braves' lead to 4-0. Joey Meneses' groundout produced Washington's first run in the bottom of the inning.

The Nationals put two runs on the board in the fourth on Ildemaro Vargas' run-scoring triple and Alu's sacrifice fly. They left the bases loaded, stranding seven runners through four innings.

Ozzie Albies doubled for an Atlanta run in the fifth. Riley had another sacrifice fly later in the inning.

The Nationals closed within 6-4 in the sixth on Abrams' groundout. Ozuna stretched the lead to 9-4 with his 36th home run.

Abrams got the last runs of the day for the Nats with a two-run double in the home half of the eighth to cut the lead to 9-6.

--Field Level Media

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