The Atlanta Braves have dominated the Colorado Rockies all season and they did so once again tonight. This time, Ronald Acuña Jr. had a huge night at the plate and on the basepaths as the Braves ran out as comfortable 10-run winners in a 14-4 blowout.
It didn't take long for the first reminder that this game was taking place in the hitters’ paradise that is Coors Field. While Bryce Elder was able to erase the first two batters of the game by inducing a double play ball out of Ezequiel Tovar, he wasn't as fortunate when he ran into Ryan McMahon. Instead of a one-two-three inning for Elder, McMahon hit a no-doubter to right field to put the Rockies on the board first.
After the two things traded scoreless innings in the second, the Braves offense sprung to life in the third inning. Michael Harris II singled and Ronald Acuña Jr. walked to start off the third inning and the bad news in this frame is that Harris got thrown out trying to get extremely aggressive on the basepaths and attempting to take third base on a shallow fly ball. The good news is that Austin Riley took matters into his own hands shortly afterwards, as he hit a big fly to right to put the Braves ahead. Matt Olson followed that up with a triple (!!!) but the scoring in that frame ended with Riley's dinger.
The Rockies didn't respond until the fourth inning, which is when they punished Bryce Elder once again for not putting them away with two outs. This time, the leadoff walk ended up coming back to haunt Elder as Hunter Goodman hit a game-tying double to make it 2-2 heading into the fifth inning. That was when the Braves and Rockies traded two runs apiece — Michael Harris II's leadoff single was cashed in by Ronald Acuña Jr.'s 29th homer of the season and then Atlanta's second lead of the night was short-lived after Colorado put together three singles and a sacrifice fly to plate two runs in the bottom half of the fifth.
The sixth and seventh innings were when the Braves started to pull away from the Rockies. The sixth was Elder's final inning of the night and he ended it on a high note as he finished his night with six innings under his belt, eight hits allowed, one walk, four strikeouts and four runs allowed — all told, a respectable line for a Coors Field debut. Still, Kevin Pillar made sure to help end Elder's night on a high note as he made a spectacular catch to start off Elder's last inning of the game.
Again, the sixth inning began a two-inning stretch for the Braves where they got to work on putting some space between them and the Rockies. A one-out double from Sean Murphy and a follow-up single from Orlando Arcia eventually culminated in Kevin Pillar hitting a sacrifice fly to plate Murphy and put the Braves back in front again.
The seventh inning is where things got truly eventful, though. Acuña's second hit of the night eventually led to Atlanta's dynamic leadoff hitter nabbing his 60th stolen base of the season in bizarre fashion as pitcher Evan Justice threw to first base in leisurely fashion. By the time the ball was in Hunter Goodman's mitt at first base, Acuña was already 85 percent of the way to second base. After a productive out from Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley plated Acuña with a single to push the lead to two runs. Justice then threw a wild pitch on his way to walking Matt Olson to put two men on and then Marcell Ozuna brought Riley home with a single to make it 7-4 Braves.
Tommy Doyle picked up where Evan Justice left off and threw a wild pitch of his own to put runners on the corners and that ended up being costly. Sean Murphy had a great night at the plate and his seventh-inning double down the line helped confirm the productive night for Atlanta's starting catcher. While Olson was able to score easily from third, Marcell Ozuna got thrown out thanks to some perfect defense. Fortunately, there was still one more out for the Braves to play with in this inning and Orlando Arcia made it count as he hit a blooper out to right field that died in the wet grass in shallow right upon landing. Once the smoke cleared, it was 9-4 Braves and while this was Coors Field and the game wasn't over just yet, the Braves had some precious breathing room at this point.
In-between the top and bottom of the seventh inning, we had a very scary moment when some fans ran on the field and one of them actually got in contact with Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña managed to come out of the incident without getting injured, which was a huge relief as it could've very easily turned into a nightmarish moment had things gone a bit differently. It was also very impressive to see Acuña stay professional and he even went on to add another hit and stolen base to his tally in the eighth inning shortly after the incident.
Once the fools were ejected from the premises, A.J. Minter entered the game and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. That was followed up by Joe Jiménez pitching a clean eighth inning in what was only the second inning of the game where both teams failed to score. There wouldn't be a third as the ninth inning ended up being incredibly fruitful for Atlanta's potent offense.
The ninth inning started with Marcell Ozuna recovering from fouling a ball off his toe to hit a double to left-center. Kevin Pillar was eventually able to bring Ozuna home with an infield single to push the Braves into double-digit runs for the night. They weren't content to stop just there, as a walk for Michael Harris II set the stage for MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. to send the many fans of the away team home happy with a positive memory.
While Acuña was unable to take the grand trip around the basepaths, he did send all of his pals on the basepaths back to the dugout happy as he hit a bases-clearing double to break the game wide open. Acuña eventually put the cherry on top and made it home himself for his fourth run of the night after Austin Riley hit a pop-up that the Rockies made a complete meal out of fielding. The swirling wind at Coors Field had been wreaking havoc on pop flies all night and this one was no different. Either way, the Braves suddenly found themselves with a nice and comfortable 10-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Former Rockies pitcher Brad Hand was called upon to finish things off and he did so without any further incident, bringing the game to an end and cementing an emphatic 10-run lead for the Braves. Atlanta utterly dominated Colorado in Cobb County earlier this season and it appears that they've picked up where they left off from that extended beatdown. If it's going to continue then they'll need Charlie Morton to help keep the good times going tomorrow night at 8:40 P.M. E.T.