Acuña's pair powers Braves to 3rd 5-HR game in June

Atlanta raises its MLB-leading first-inning long-ball total to 25, leads Majors with 146

June 28th, 2023

ATLANTA -- Less than halfway through this season, the Braves have already set a franchise season record for most five-homer games. They have produced three such games this month.

Just one other MLB club entered Tuesday having tallied three five-homer games all season.

So, it was business as usual for the Braves as they tallied five home runs through their first 10 plate appearances of a 6-2 win over the Twins on Tuesday night at Truist Park.

padded his MVP resume as he accounted for two of those home runs that were hit before Minnesota starter recorded his fourth out. Acuña surpassed Freddie Freeman for the most regular-season homers at Truist Park with his second jack (No. 72).

“I think it just goes to show you how deep this lineup is,” third baseman said. “One through nine can change the game with one swing. When we’re clicking on all cylinders, it puts a lot of pressure on pitchers.”

Acuña hit his 29th career leadoff homer on Ryan’s first pitch of the game, then he watched as Riley and tallied their own solo shots in Atlanta’s four-run first. This raised the Braves’ MLB-leading first-inning home run total to 25. They also lead the way with 75 first-inning runs, 11 more than any other club.

The back-to-back homers by and Acuña to begin the bottom of the second increased the Braves’ MLB-leading homer total to 146, which is 20 more than any other MLB team.

“I can’t explain the first-inning thing, that’s crazy,” manager Brian Snitker said. “[Ryan] is a really good pitcher, too. He came in here hot. But I guess it’s just where these guys are offensively.”

The Braves have hit 56 home runs while going 19-4 this month. That total is two shy of the single-month franchise record, which the 2019 team set in June. The franchise has just eight 50-homer months in history. This is the second straight month this season’s club has reached that total.

Matt Olson (eight), Eddie Rosario (eight) and Ozzie Albies (seven) have led the Braves in homers this month. None of them contributed to Tuesday’s total, which increased a franchise record.

The Braves have already produced seven five-homer games. They had never logged more than five such games in any season during the franchise’s existence. The Giants were the only other MLB club who entered Tuesday with three this season.

“The lineup for us, I’m glad I don’t have to face it,” starting pitcher Bryce Elder said. “What we do every night is impressive.”

There were a number of All-Star-caliber performances provided by some of the guys who could represent the Braves at the Midsummer Classic in Seattle on July 11. Murphy and Arcia are both leading at their positions during Phase 2 of the balloting process.

Murphy strengthened his credentials with his first homer since he tweaked his right hamstring on June 18. Arcia teamed with Albies to complete a defensive gem that Snitker said will be seen the rest of the season.

As for Elder, he strengthened his All-Star bid by exiting with an NL-best 2.44 ERA.

But this eventful win was once again sparked by Acuña, who was guaranteed a spot in the NL’s starting lineup when he garnered more votes than any player during Phase 1 of the All-Star voting, which ended last week.

Acuña’s second-inning shot off Ryan gave him a homer in three straight plate appearances going back to Monday night and his first multihomer game of the season.

With 19 homers and 35 stolen bases through 79 games, Acuña is on pace to hit 38 home runs and steal 71 bases.  There have been just four 40/40 seasons in AL/NL history.  He has a chance to join that exclusive club or possibly begin one of his own. No player has had a 30/60 season and just two have had a 30/50 season.  

“It’s a treat to see him come to the yard and watch him play every day, not only offensively, but defensively,” Riley said. “I think he’s great out there. You find yourself at the edge of your seat every time he is at the plate.”