Ronald Acuna Jr. needed just two at-bats Thursday to repay the Marlins for hitting him with a pitch a week earlier.
Acuna, the Braves’ slugging rookie outfielder, crushed a 432-foot home run to left field off Miami starter Elieser Hernandez in the third inning at Marlins Park.
From all appearances, Acuna enjoyed taking Hernandez deep.
Acuna was still smarting from the 97 mph Jose Urena fastball that found Acuna’s left arm on August 15. Urena was ejected (and later suspended six games by MLB) for that pitch, the benches cleared, and Acuna left the game in the second inning as the arm stiffened.
The Braves thought Urena threw at Acuna on purpose (Urena denied that) because Acuna had homered four times in the previous three meetings between the teams.
POWER ON DISPLAY: Acuna youngest player to homer in five consecutive games
Two plate appearances after Thursday’s homer, Acuna was hit again, this time in the right hand by a Javy Guerra fastball in the sixth inning.
Acuna slammed his helmet to the ground in anger but the dugouts and bullpens stayed put.
“At the moment I was just a little upset because obviously I’d been hit before in the previous (Marlins) series and I got hit again tonight,” Acuna told reporters through an interpreter (per David O’Brien of The Athletic).
“But you know what, those are just parts of the game and those things stay on the field.”
Marlins first baseman Miguel Rojas said there was no intent in Guerra’s errant pitch.
“We’re not trying to hit the kid,” Rojas said, per O’Brien.
The Braves responded in the bottom of the frame. Left-hander Sean Newcomb crowded the Marlins’ best player, J.T. Realmuto, with two fastballs before striking him out.
Next came Brian Anderson, arguably Miami’s second-best player. A Newcomb fastball found Anderson’s left arm.
That pitch drew a warning from home plate umpire Chris Conroy.
Anderson was hit again in the eighth inning by a Jesse Biddle breaking ball. Anderson wasn’t happy with the pitch, but he went to first base without incident.
Atlanta won Thursday’s game, the opener of a four-game weekend series, 5-0.