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Home Run Heroics continue as Braves beat Nationals 7-1

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Acuna Jr.’s wrist appears to be just fine!

MLB: Game One-Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

While I have not looked at a statistical comparison, I feel it is not much of a stretch to say that Austin Voth and Gerrit Cole do not have much in common in terms of their pitching profiles. However, I can validate that they do have one thing in common when it comes to their respective 2020 game logs.

Both Cole and Voth have allowed home runs to Ronald Acuna Jr. to lead off a game after he had missed time due to injury this season. Furthermore, this time, Acuna Jr. continued the streak of historic long balls for the Braves, as per Sarah Langs, he tied Felipe Alou for the most lead-off home runs by a Brave in franchise history.

He has played in 291 career games.

Before Acuna Jr.’s blast, Tommy Milone worked around a Trea Turner single (his millionth career hit against Atlanta), stolen base, and advance to third thanks to a great play by Adeiny Hechavarria to hold the Nationals scoreless. Both the Nationals and the Braves went down without a scoring threat in the second, but two singles from Victor Robles and Turner allowed the Nationals to have their second scoring chance of the afternoon. However, Milone was able to retire Howie Kendrick with a double play to end the top of the third.

After a walk to Acuna Jr. in the bottom of the third, Dansby Swanson decided to join the long ball parade as he connected for a two-run home run, his sixth of the year. Marcell Ozuna reached base with a single of his own, but was held on base. The end result for Atlanta was a three run lead after three innings.

Milone ran into a bit of trouble in the fourth as he navigated the Nationals order a second time. A lead-off triple by Asdrubal Cabrera was nearly followed up with a two-run home run off the bat of Yan Gomes. However, Adam Duvall made arguably the defensive play of the year for the Braves and limited the Nationals to only one run. Milone would then end the inning to keep the lead at 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.

While the box score may look a bit better for Milone, he still lived a bit too much on the edge. Over four innings, he allowed six hits, one run, and three strikeouts. It could have been significantly worse without some excellent defensive support from the Atlanta defense. However, Milone made it through the Nationals’ order twice and allowed only one run. In a seven inning game, that is certainly acceptable, and a nice bounce back performance from his Braves debut.

In the bottom of the fourth, Adam Duvall doubled to lead off the inning, but Voth was able to retire the next two hitters. However, Acuna Jr. decided while once is great, twice is truly nice. He smashed a two-run shot into the trees in center field to give the Braves a 5-1 lead. This was the third straight game in which the Braves had a player hit multiple home runs in a game. It was also a reminder of just how dominant this lineup can be when fully healthy.

Atlanta limited the Nationals to a lone single from Robles in the top of the fifth (yes, THEY GOT TURNER OUT), but unfortunately could not capitalize on an Ozuna double and Austin Riley single in the bottom of the inning. Washington again went down quietly in the top of the sixth, but the Braves decided that had a bit of noise left to make. Singles from Hechavarria and Flowers proved beneficial as a single and outfield error scored both thanks to the bat of Swanson. A.J. Minter worked the top of the seventh inning, and in perfect fashion, retired Turner to end the game.

Another great game for the Braves. Acuna Jr. shows just how much better this lineup is with him at the top, while the rest of the order continued their excellent efforts. While far from stellar, Milone did his job, which has significant value right now, especially when supported with all zeros from the Braves’ relievers. Atlanta continues to shine, and hopefully can sweep this daily duo of games to enter the holiday weekend with a six game winning streak.