Acuña, Adrianza hit grand slams, Braves rout Pirates 20-1
Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2021
By GEORGE HENRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a grand slam in the second inning off Tyler Anderson, pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza added another slam in the eighth against position player Wilmer Difo and the Atlanta Braves homered seven times in a 20-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Austin Riley homered twice for his first multihomer game, and Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna and Dansby Swanson also went deep for the Braves, who became the first team in major league history to have seven or more homers in a game that included two slams, according to STATS.
Acuña had five RBIs and gave Atlanta a 5-0 lead with his 14th homer, which tied the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead. Acuña’s first slam came against Pittsburgh’s Alex McRae on June 10, 2019.
Difo, a 29-year-old middle infielder in his seventh major league season, relieved to start the bottom of the eighth with the Pirates trailing 12-0.
He threw at up to 88 mph, and Adrianza homered on a first-pitch 80 mph offering. Difo allowed three walks and six hits in his one inning, giving up run-scoring singles to Kevan Smith and Guillermo Heredia, Ozuna’s RBI double and Riley’s sacrifice fly.
Difo left with a 72.00 career ERA.
Atlanta avoided falling what would have been a season-worst five games under .500. The three-time defending NL champions had lost seven of their previous 10 games.
Atlanta’s Ian Anderson started against Pittsburgh’s Tyler Anderson, after Ian Anderson started and won at Milwaukee last Saturday in a game the Brewers started Brett Anderson.
This marked the first time since 1900 that a pitcher started consecutive games against different pitchers with the same last name as him, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Ian Anderson (4-1) gave up six hits in six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks as the Braves won for the seventh time in his last eight starts. He stranded two runners in the first, one runner in the second, one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Two of the hits came on bunts and another was an infield single.
Anderson improved to 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in eight career home starts. Atlanta starters have combined for a 2.50 ERA over the last 17 games.
Tyler Anderson (3-4) gave up nine runs, 10 hits — seven for extra bases — and two walks in five innings. The Pirates had won five of his previous six starts.
Albies and Riley homered back to back in the fifth for a 9-0 lead, and Riley and Swanson hit consecutive homers in the seventh against Chasen Shreve,
Pirates: Manager Derek Shelton said RHP Trevor Cahill was showing improvement in his left calf but is still day to day and getting treatments. … OF Ka’ai Tom was placed on the 10-day injured list with a bruised left wrist. INF Cole Tucker was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. … Nick Gonzales sustained an injury to his right hand in a game Wednesday with Double-A Greensboro. He is projected to return to baseball activities in four to six weeks.
Braves: C Travis d’Arnaud, on the 60-day DL with torn left thumb ligament, had his stitches removed and is still wearing a cast, but manager Brian Snitker said he has begun some baseball activities such as running, throwing and swinging a bat with one arm. … C Alex Jackson (left hamstring strain) began a rehab assignment Friday at Triple-A Gwinnett.
Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (2-5, 7.16 ERA) will face a Braves starter that has yet to be announced.
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