Ready in a pinch: Acuña comes off bench, sparks Braves’ rally

ATLANTA — As soon as Ronald Acuña Jr. grabbed a bat out of the bat rack and began stretching in the dugout, there was an expectation something special was on the horizon. Though Travis Demeritte was in the on-deck circle, it was obvious this moment was reserved for Acuña.

“I was sitting there thinking, ‘Wait until I run him out there, this place is going to go nuts,’” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

A sold-out crowd certainly didn’t disappoint, roaring as soon as Acuña strolled off the bench to pinch hit with two outs in the seventh inning of Friday night’s game at Truist Park. The superstar outfielder had been sidelined the past two days with a right quad strain. But he showed no rust as he laced a game-tying double that propelled the Braves to a 6-4 win over the Marlins.

“When he gets the hit, the place goes crazy in a spot like that to tie it up,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s a great player, so it’s hard to get him out no matter what. They’re going to be better with him in there no matter what. In any situation, you just don’t ever like him in there.”

From the other perspective, the Braves love to see Acuña around in any situation. The two-time All-Star returned from a torn right ACL on April 28, played 10 games, tweaked his left groin, missed five games and then…

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Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman

MLB - Braves

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Braves beat writer for since 2001. Unlike Billy The Kid, I truly am from a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia.