ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuña Jr. generated instant excitement when he hit the longest home run of his young career while matched up against Gerrit Cole during the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader, his first plate appearance in more than two weeks.
Acuña began the Braves' 5-1 win over the Yankees by opening the bottom of the first with his 16th leadoff homer. The 22-year-old All-Star hit Cole’s 97.3 mph full-count fastball a projected 473 feet over Truist Park’s left-center-field wall.
“That’s just fun to watch,” Braves right-hander Ian Anderson said. “I just couldn’t believe it. Not that I wasn’t expecting it. I know what he can do. But even now, I’m kind of in disbelief as to how far he hit that in a big spot like that against Cole. He’s a special player.”
Dating back to when Statcast began tracking data in 2015, this is the longest homer hit by a Braves player as well as the longest homer surrendered by Cole. It is also the second-longest homer hit at Truist Park, which opened in 2017. Current Yankee Giancarlo Stanton hit a 477-foot homer for the Marlins during a game in Atlanta that season.
Making Acuña’s blast even more impressive was the fact it came in his first plate appearance since Aug. 10. He missed the past two weeks resting an inflamed left wrist.
Acuña’s 16 leadoff homers rank second in Braves history. Felipe Alou hit 17 from 1964-69.
“That’s why we put him up there, because he has the potential to get us a lead right away, which he’s done many times,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s good to have him back.”