Acuna hits 464-foot homer in Braves' win over Diamondbacks
PHOENIX (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. stole a base when no one was looking, hit a homer to the fans buying beer.
Spencer Strider overpowered major league hitters by blowing fastballs past them.
When the Atlanta Braves' two young stars are in the lineup, it's can't-miss viewing.
Acuña hit a 464-foot home run, Strider struck out seven in six effective innings and the Braves beat the streaking Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Saturday night.
“You feel like every day — Spencer it's every five days — you can't ask for a better seat in the house watching that every day,” said Braves reliever Jesse Sanchez, who worked out of a big jam in the sixth inning.
Scuffling at the plate lately, the Braves had 11 hits to end Arizona's six-game winning streak.
Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario had run-scoring singles against Rhyne Nelson (2-4) to help the Braves go up 3-0 through five innings. Atlanta scored another run on a double play in the sixth inning and Acuña followed by hitting his 12th homer onto the concourse behind the seats in left-center.
“You better not go get a beer or anything when he’s coming up because you might miss something really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s amazing to me, how ball comes off (his bat).”
Strider (6-2) allowed two runs and three hits with four walks. Raisel Iglesias worked around a single in the ninth for for his sixth save in seven chances.
Chavez escaped a big jam after Strider left, allowing a run on hit by pitch after Arizona loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning. He struck out Pavin Smith and Ketel Marte looking to end the inning.
Evan Longoria hit a solo homer for Arizona, which was held to six hits.
“We were a slug away from getting right back in this game," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”We just couldn't get in synch offensively."
Strider moved into Atlanta’s rotation a year ago in the desert and has dominated since.
The flame-throwing right-hander returned to the desert leading the majors in strikeouts (106) and hit 100 strikeouts faster than any pitcher since 1863, eclipsing the mark in 61 innings.
Strider was overpowering at times against the Diamondbacks, though worked through traffic in every inning. He managed to work out of it until Longoria left no wiggle room with a towering homer to left leading off the fifth inning.
Strider was replaced by Chavez after giving up a leadoff single to Emmanuel Rivera in the seventh.
“A lot of octane in that fastball and he commands it,” Lovullo said. “He was very sharp on each edge of the plate.”
Nelson allowed three runs and six hits with four walks and no strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
“He had some easy innings where it was moving in the right direction, but had he finished off some hitters and not let the at-bat linger, we could have pushed him a little further,” Lovullo said.
The Diamondbacks forgot about one of baseball's best base stealers in the third inning.
After hitting a double in the third inning, Acuña noticed Arizona third baseman Josh Rojas playing well off the bag. Acuña took off before Nelson had even taken a sign, easily beating Rojas to the bag for his 24th steal.
“He's got a good feel from when they've got their head down, that's for sure,” Snitker said. “Third basemen are playing so close to second these days it almost becomes a foot race between him and the third baseman. He's going go win that one.”
Carroll's walk-off hit in Thursday's game against Colorado has been changed from a single to a double. The two-out double in the 6-5 win was the first walk-off hit of Carroll's career.
Braves: LHPs Max Fried and Dylan Lee have started throwing as they work toward returning. Fried has been out since May 6 with forearm tightness. Lee has been sidelined since May 19 with shoulder inflammation.
Atlanta RHP Michael Soroka (0-1, 6.00 ERA) faces Arizona RHP Zac Gallen (7-2, 2.72) in Sunday's series finale.
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