It’s one for the history books for Ronald Acuna Jr. and his Atlanta Braves teammates…
The 23-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder hit a grand slam in the second inning off Tyler Anderson, pinch hitter Ehire Adrianza added another slam in the eighth against position player Wilmer Difo and the Braves homered seven times in a 20-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Austin Riley homered twice for his first multi-homer game, and Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna and Dansby Swanson also went deep for the Braves, who became the first team in major league history to have seven or more homers in a game that included two slams, according to STATS.
This was the sixth seven-homer game in Braves history, and the 20 runs were the most a team has scored in a game this season.
“It was awesome,” Riley said. “Just seemed like everything clicked offensively. I think it really goes to show what this team is capable of doing. I know things might not seem like they’re clicking right now on a daily basis, but it’s there, and it’s a matter of time.”
Acuna had five RBIs and gave Atlanta a 5-0 lead with his 14th homer, which tied him with the Los Angeles Angels‘ Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead. Acuna’s first slam came against Pittsburgh’s Alex McRae on June 10, 2019.
Difo, a 29-year-old middle infielder in his seventh major league season, relieved to start the bottom of the eighth with the Pirates trailing 12-0.
Pitching to catcher Jacob Stallings, Difo threw at up to 88 mph, and Adrianza homered on a first-pitch 80 mph offering. Difo allowed three walks and six hits in his one inning, giving up run-scoring singles to Kevan Smith and Guillermo Heredia, Ozuna’s RBI double and Riley’s sacrifice fly. Difo left with a 72.00 career ERA.
“I think Stallings summed it up best,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said with a laugh. “Difo didn’t have his best stuff tonight, and they capitalized on it.”
Albies and Riley homered back-to-back in the fifth for a 9-0 lead, and Riley and Swanson hit consecutive homers in the seventh against Chasen Shreve.
“We’ve been struggling to score runs and get hits, so that was good to see,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “There were some good at-bats, going the other way, it was a good night. And the way Ian backed up his last start with how he threw tonight was really good.”
Tyler Anderson (3-4) gave up nine runs, 10 hits — seven for extra bases — and two walks in five innings. The Pirates had won five of his previous six starts.
Pittsburgh tied a 20-1 loss to Brooklyn on August 1, 1890, and a 25-6 loss to Brooklyn on May 20, 1896, for its third-largest margin of defeat, behind a 27-5 loss at Cincinnati on September 12, 1883, and a 20-0 loss to Milwaukee on April 22, 2010.
Shelton said it will be easy to move on from such a lopsided loss.
“It’s actually easier to move on from a game like this because the games that are 4-1, 4-3, there’s situations you look back and think this couldn’t have been different,” he said. “Tonight we just got beat. You just move on from it and come back tomorrow.”