08/18 15:44 CDT Acua yanked, Ortega slam lead Braves over Dodgers 5-3
Acua yanked, Ortega slam lead Braves over Dodgers 5-3
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) --- With All-Star outfielder Ronald Acua Jr. banished for his
lack of hustle, Rafael Ortega stepped up with a sixth-inning grand slam to lift
the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
Acua was pulled before the fifth inning after failing to run out a drive off
the right field wall in the third. The ball bounced off the wall for a long
single. The 21-year-old Acua likely would have had an easy double if he had
hustled from home plate.
Manager Brian Snitker followed Acua into the tunnel for an apparent
conversation during the fourth inning before Adam Duvall entered the game in
left field in the fifth, with Ortega moving from left to center field.
The move by Snitker came in a high-spotlight game --- a 2018 playoff rematch
and the decisive game of a three-game series between the teams with the
National League's best records.
Acua is hitting .296 with 35 home runs and 85 RBIs, and leads the NL with 29
stolen bases and 104 runs scored.
Ortega, recalled from the minors on Tuesday, made the most of only his second
start with the Braves with his first career grand slam off Dustin May.
May (1-2) couldn't hold a 3-1 lead. May walked Brian McCann, gave up a single
to Matt Joyce and hit Adeiny Hechavarra with a pitch to load the bases before
giving up Ortega's homer into the Braves' bullpen.
Dodgers rookie Tony Gonsolin, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowed one
run on five hits in four innings.
Braves left-hander Max Fried couldn't extend his streak of wins in five
straight starts. Fried lasted five innings despite giving up Cody Bellinger's
three-run homer in the first. Bellinger leads the majors with 42 homers.
Anthony Swarzak (3-3), Chris Martin, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon combined
for four scoreless innings of relief. Melancon pitched a perfect ninth for his
Acua briefly had Bellinger's ball in his glove as he reached over the center
field wall. The homer, which followed singles by Justin Turner and Will Smith,
fell over the wall when Acua's wrist hit the top of the wall. Acua's
disappointment showed when he tossed his glove to the warning track while
Bellinger ran around the bases.
Fried doubled off the right-field wall to lead off the third. Acua followed
with a similar drive, but instead of hustling he admired the high flyball and
then had to settle for a long single when it also bounced off the wall. Acua
was thrown out by rookie catcher Will Smith when trying to steal second,
leaving Acua still one steal away from a 30-30 season.
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, who has missed 24 games with a right foot
contusion, fielded groundballs for the second straight day before running and
participating in agility drills.
Jedd Gyorko (lower back strain) was activated from the 60-day injured list to
start at first base in his Dodgers debut. Gyorko was on the IL when he was
acquired from St. Louis on July 31. To clear spots for Gonsolin and Gyorko, the
Dodgers optioned right-hander Josh Sborz and infielder Edwin Ros to Oklahoma
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-2, 2.63) will make only his second career
start against Toronto when the Dodgers open a three-game home series against
the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Braves: Following an off day on Monday, LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-5, 4.39) will
make his third start of the season against Miami when the Braves open a
three-game series against the Marlins on Tuesday night.
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