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Acuña homers for first time since return, but Braves lose 6-3

Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a home run that was flying in the Georgia night sky while he was laying down on the ground. That cool moment wasn’t enough to turn the tide for the Braves in this one, though.

Milwaukee Brewers v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his first home run since July and did so in incredibly fascinating and entertaining fashion. Unfortunately, his homer ended up getting overshadowed on the night by a woeful sixth inning on the mound for the Braves — one that derailed their bullpen night and contributed to a 6-3 loss to Milwaukee.

The word of the night was “frustration” and things got started on the wrong foot for the Braves when Jesse Chavez took the mound. The big hope was that Chavez would be able to deliver two, maybe even three innings of good work for the Braves. Sadly, the Brewers jumped on him early as Rowdy Tellez hit a fly ball that landed at the base of the wall to plate Andrew McCutchen and Kolten Wong with an RBI double. Chavez stranded Tellez at second but that would be the end of his night.

The good news is that Spencer Strider did a really good job of keeping Atlanta in the game while he was on the mound. While Strider wasn’t exactly perfect, he was still good enough to keep the Brewers from extending their lead while he was on the mound. Strider finished the night with four hits allowed but eight strikeouts, zero walks and zero runs given up. He ended his night in the fifth inning with an exclamation point, as he pushed a 98 miles-per-hour heater past Andrew McCutchen to strand Willy Adames at third base.

Strider’s strikeout kept the game tied, as the Braves had picked up two runs in a roundabout way in the first inning. The first run came off the bat of Ronald Acuña Jr., who put his name in the home run column for the first time since last July. Acuña hit an absolute moonshot to center field, which went 450 feet and left his bat at a scorching 111.7 miles-per-hour. The only reason why it wasn’t a no-doubter dinger was because Acuña fell down on his butt on the follow-through. This dude is freakish, y’all.

The Braves tied the game later on in the inning with a little help from Milwaukee’s defense. Lorenzo Cain in particular made a pretty big mistake as he caught a shallow fly ball from Marcell Ozuna that had Braves baserunners moving. This was concerning since the runners included Matt Olson and had Cain thrown to second base, Olson likely would’ve been out. Instead, Cain threw it to first base where nobody wearing a blue-and-yellow cap was located. Both runners advanced safely due to the throwing error and Matt Olson was able to cross the plate on a sacrifice fly just before Austin Riley got doubled up trying to take third base. It wasn’t the prettiest inning but the Braves got the job done by resetting the game.

The hope and optimism of a new game was short-lived, however. The Brewers proceeded to put up four runs in the sixth inning in an incredibly frustrating frame of baseball from Atlanta’s prospective. Collin McHugh got the leadoff hitter out on a groundout and then the train started getting a little shaky on the tracks. Luis Urias walked, Hunter Renfroe got on via an infield single and then Tyler Matzek was called upon to preserve the tie. Unfortunately, this is when the train went off the rails. Following a walk, a fielder’s choice, two straight walks, and another infield single following the introduction of Tyler Thornburg into the game, the Brewers had somehow scored four more runs without putting the ball into the outfield. Matzek in particular has to take the blame for that inning getting as bad as it did, and that ended up being the turning point in this one.

Atlanta showed a flash of life in the eighth inning, and it came in the usually-encouraging form of Dansby Swanson hitting an opposite-field home run. Usually if Dansby is doing that then either he’s in the midst of a good run or about to enter one, so don’t be shocked if the good times for Dansby are going to last for a while.

The three-run deficit lasted to the ninth inning, which is when the Braves had to deal with Josh Hader going for the save. It went about as well as you’d figure — Josh Hader still has yet to give up a run this season and the Braves haven’t exactly been clicking at the plate as of late. The Braves took the first loss in this weekend series, but at least they’ve got Max Fried going tomorrow. Corbin Burnes is likely going to match him pitch-for-pitch but hey, tomorrow’s always a reason for optimism, right?

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