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Braves face Urena first time since Acuna HBP

@HarriganMLB
May 3, 2019

Tensions could be high Friday night at Marlins Park as Marlins right-hander Jose Urena takes the mound against the Braves for the first time since last August, when he drilled Ronald Acuna Jr. with a 97.5 mph fastball on his first pitch of the game, prompting benches to clear twice

Tensions could be high Friday night at Marlins Park as Marlins right-hander Jose Urena takes the mound against the Braves for the first time since last August, when he drilled Ronald Acuna Jr. with a 97.5 mph fastball on his first pitch of the game, prompting benches to clear twice and leading to an ejection and a six-game suspension for Urena.

While Acuna walked away from the incident without a serious injury, the Braves unsurprisingly were not happy with Urena’s pitch. However, they were locked in a tight division race with the Phillies at the time and ultimately did not retaliate, avoiding the risk of losing players to ejection and/or suspension at a key point in the season.

After the game, first baseman Freddie Freeman hinted at the club potentially retaliating in the future.

"Everybody knows retaliation is there and it's obviously in the back of our mind,” Freeman said. “But the ultimate goal is to win that game. We can't lose our starter in the second inning. I thought we went about it in the right way. We'll see what happens down the road."

Kevin Gausman, who faced Urena and the Marlins in that game, is Friday’s scheduled starter for Atlanta. He hasn’t hit a batter in five starts this season.

The Braves, who ended up winning the National League East last year, enter Friday’s game in third place with a 15-16 record, but sit just 2 1/2 games behind the division-leading Phillies. Acuna, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year Award winner, is hitting .273 with six home runs, 20 RBIs and an .866 OPS over his first 31 games this season. He has been handling cleanup duties for Atlanta.

The Marlins are 9-21, meanwhile, and Urena owns a 5.08 ERA through six starts, up from 3.98 last year.

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HarriganMLB.