'Generational talent' Acuña adding to legend

April 12th, 2021

ATLANTA -- couldn’t prevent the controversial call that had the Braves steaming after Sunday night’s 7-6 loss to the Phillies at Truist Park. But the young superstar seemingly did everything else over the past week.

“I mean, this kid had some kind of weekend and has had some kind of start from all ends,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s shown you all the five tools since we've started play. The scary part is he's going to continue to get better. It’s pretty special what he’s been doing.”

Snitker’s complimentary words came after he expressed his displeasure that a replay review had not reversed the ruling that Alec Bohm was safe at home on a Didi Gregorius sacrifice fly in the ninth. Multiple angles appeared to show Bohm never touched the plate.

But the call was allowed to stand and the Braves were denied their bid to sweep the Phillies exactly one week after being swept in Philadelphia. Atlanta has won four of five since losing each of its first four games.

The Braves’ turnaround has been fueled by Acuña, who went 9-for-13 during this series and has hit .583 (14-for-24) with four doubles and four homers in the past six games.

Putting the final touches on his impressive National League Player of the Week resume, Acuña hit a game-tying solo homer off Sam Coonrod in the seventh inning. This one traveled a projected 428 feet. So, it wasn’t quite as impressive as the 456-foot decisive homer he hit in Friday’s series opener.

“He's a generational talent, and it's exciting to get to watch him every day,” Braves starter Drew Smyly said. “I mean, he's one of a kind. It’s truly impressive.”

After the Braves claimed an early lead, Smyly endured a four-run fourth, which included homers by Rhys Hoskins and Gregorius. Acuña’s sacrifice fly brought the Braves back within a run in the fourth, and Freddie Freeman hit a game-tying solo homer off Phillies starter Matt Moore in the fifth.

Acuña answered Bryce Harper’s solo shot off Nate Jones in the sixth with a game-tying homer in the seventh. Acuña’s latest display of strength was shown a little more than an hour after he imitated Usain Bolt.

Acuña grounded Moore’s first-pitch fastball toward Phillies shortstop Gregorius and was rewarded with an infield single after traveling 31 feet per second and beating the throw. He scored when Ozzie Albies hit the next pitch over the right-center-field wall.