HOUSTON – Ronald Acuña Jr. made history with a leadoff home run to start things off for the Atlanta Braves in their NL Division Series opener against Miami.
And another hit — once more by the Marlins, this time with Sandy Alcantara's fastball to the left hip — fired up the Braves and fueled their comeback in a 9-5 win Tuesday.
“I think it woke us up,” said Travis d’Arnaud, who launched a tiebreaking homer during Atlanta’s six-run rally in the seventh inning . “And we took advantage of that momentum.”
D'Arnaud also doubled and singled in driving in four runs and Dansby Swanson homered during the big comeback to help power Atlanta.
After shutting out Cincinnati for 22 innings during a two-game sweep in the wild-card round, the Braves relied on their bats in this opener. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is on Wednesday in Houston.
Acuña got things going for the Braves in the bottom of the first when he sent Alcantara’s second pitch into right-center for a homer. He watched it for a second before flipping his bat and rounding the bases as he became the youngest player (22 years, 293 days old) in postseason history with a leadoff home run.
Things turned testy in the third when Acuña was nailed by a 98 mph fastball. The showy All-Star outfielder held onto his bat and walked a few steps toward the mound before umpires and Braves coaches surrounded him and directed him away from Alcantara, who had started to walk toward him.
After a short delay, featuring plenty of chirping from both dugouts, Acuña took his base. Umpires warned the teams against further trouble.