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How far?! Acuña hits 2020's longest homer

@RichardJustice
September 26, 2020

No matter how many home runs Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hits in his career, he’s unlikely to forget the one he boomed out of Truist Park in the bottom of the first inning of Friday night's 8-7 win in 11 innings against the Red Sox. Jaw-dropping? Yes, that’s one

No matter how many home runs Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hits in his career, he’s unlikely to forget the one he boomed out of Truist Park in the bottom of the first inning of Friday night's 8-7 win in 11 innings against the Red Sox.

Jaw-dropping? Yes, that’s one way to put it. Maybe that’s why Acuña lingered near home plate for an instant before flipping his bat ceremoniously aside.

Per Statcast, Acuña's leadoff homer off Red Sox starter Chris Mazza traveled 495 feet, the longest Braves homer ever tracked by Statcast and the longest of any player in 2020. Atlanta’s previous longest homer was a 473-footer by Acuña off Gerrit Cole on Aug. 26.

The homer is also tied for the fifth-longest in MLB since Statcast began in 2015. At 112.9 mph off the bat, it’s the ninth-hardest-hit Braves homer in the Statcast era.

“I was in the stands watching," said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who hit a walk-off home run to seal Friday's victory, “and that’s the farthest ball I've ever seen hit in person. That was incredible.”

He was sitting under a canopy with Braves coach Eddie Perez and briefly lost sight of the ball.

“Did that almost clear the whole stands?” Freeman said he asked Perez.

“I think it did,” Perez replied.

Freeman watched as former Braves pitcher Paul Byrd -- now a member of the Atlanta broadcast team -- went to retrieve the ball.

“I was watching Paul the whole way, and he stopped [in about the second row from the top],” Freeman said. “Nice way to lead off the game too, isn't it? I mean, that guy...”

Acuña began Friday's game ranked fifth in the National League with a .997 OPS. Two of his teammates, Freeman (1.084) and Marcell Ozuna (1.041), were second and third. Acuña has nine homers in 22 games this month.

“Yeah, that's probably the longest one I've seen here in this ballpark,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was just, 'Oh my god.’”

Acuña’s 14th homer of the season came as the Braves are putting the finishing touches on a season in which they won their third straight NL East championship. Atlanta leads the Major Leagues in runs, and its offense is just one run from setting the record for the most by any modern-era Braves team through the first 60 games of a season.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.