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Acuna, Olson go deep in win over Cardinals

Ronald Acuña Jr. Braves Ronald Acuña Jr. - The Canadian Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. hit two of Atlanta's five home runs, Matt Olson increased his major league-leading total to 47 and the Braves beat slumping Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 on Thursday night.

Acuña raised his season total to 34 homers with his third multihomer game this season and the 12th of his big league career. Olson homered for his fourth straight game, and Michael Harris II and Travis d'Arnaud also went deep for major league-best Atlanta (91-48), which leads second-place Philadelphia by 14 games in the NL East.

“A great teammate, has all the intangibles,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Olson. “Everything is off the charts.”

Max Fried (7-1) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, improving to 5-0 in his last seven starts. He is 5-0 in his career against the Cardinals.

“I was a little surprised after the first two innings I got through six,” Fried said. “It is never ideal when your offense gives you a 3-0 lead to give it right back.”

Wainwright (3-11), pitching in his home state of Georgia for the final time against the team that drafted him in 2000, allowed six runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, including four solo home runs The 42-year-old right-hander, nearing the end of his 18th big league season, matched his career high for homers allowed.

He is stuck at 198 wins, losing seven straight starts and dropping to 0-10 in 11 outings since winning at the New York Mets on June 17.

“I treated it like every other start,” Wainwright said. “We had a good game for a minute, just let it slip away at the end. I was a little rusty, but got sharper and sharper until the very end.”

Pierce Johnson and A.J. Minter each pitched a scoreless inning, and Raisel Iglesias gave up two runs in the ninth. Eddie Rosario was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and made a sliding catch in left that ended he game with two runners on.

Tommy Edman was 2 for 4 with two RBIs for the Cardinals (61-79), who with three more losses would assure their first losing season since 2007.

Olson broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning with a solo homer to center after Edman had made catches against the wall for the inning's first two outs. Acuña and Harris homered in the sixth, chasing Wainwright.

Acuña, who had his 60th multihit game this season, homered on the game's first pitch for his sixth leadoff homer this season. Rosario's two-run single later in the inning opened a 3-0 lead.

Andrew Knizner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the second and Edman hit a two-run single. Nolan Gorman was initially ruled out by plate umpire Laz Díaz, but the call was reversed in a video review.


With his two home runs, Acuña is on pace for 40 home runs and 74 stolen bases, an unprecedented combination.

“Everything is possible,” Acuña said through a translator. “Now that it is in sight, it would be nice.”

“He has a shot,” Snitker said. “Nothing he’s going to do is going to surprise me.”


With three runs in the first inning, the Braves’ set a franchise record for first-inning runs with 129, two more than in 1999. The 2000 Cardinals set the NL record of 147.


Diaz ejected Cardinals hitting coach Turner Ward in the fifth inning.


Braves: Third baseman Austin Riley missed the game due to illness. He did not show up to the park and missed the team pregame photo.

“We’ll see what he feels like tomorrow,” Snitker said.

This is the first game Riley has not played this season and only his sixth missed game over the last three seasons.


Cardinals: Rookie LHP Drew Rom (0-2, 7.24) will face Cincinnati LHP Andrew Abbott (8-4, 3.22) on Friday in the opener of a three-game series in Cincinnati.

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (11-4, 3.42) starts against Pittburgh RHP Mitch Keller (11-8, 3.93) in the first game of a three-game series in Atlanta.