Atlanta: Atlanta Braves rookie left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr joined some elite company on Monday night when he homered to lead off both games of a doubleheader sweep against the visiting Miami Marlins.
Acuna homered to start the first game, a 9-1 Atlanta win, and duplicated the feat in the second game, which Atlanta won 6-1 at SunTrust Park.
Acuna became the fourth player to homer as the leadoff hitter in both ends of doubleheader, joining Harry Hooper of the Boston Red Sox in 1913, Ricky Henderson of the Oakland A’s in 1993 and Brady Anderson of the Baltimore Orioles in 1999.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Acuna, 20 years, 238 days old, also became the youngest player ever to homer in four consecutive games. The old mark was set by Florida Marlins’ Miguel Cabrera in 2004 when he was 20 years, 362 days old. Acuna was 3-for-5 with two runs, his 17th home run and two RBIs in the nightcap after going 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the first game.
Elsewhere, Paul DeJong hit a walk-off homer leading off the bottom of the ninth inning as St Louis defeated visiting Washington.
The Nationals’ bullpen struggled once again, giving up five runs, all of which came on homers in the final two innings. Koda Glover (0-1) allowed the DeJong solo blast, which came on a 3-1 pitch. It was the second straight night Washington’s bullpen gave up a walk-off homer.
The Cardinals turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead in the eighth on a solo homer by Jedd Gyorko and a three-run shot from Matt Carpenter. The Nationals tied it in the top of the ninth on RBI hits from Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters.