Acuna hits leadoff HR, Braves edge Bucs 2-1 for 3-game sweep

PITTSBURGH (AP) Jonny Venters thought he had given up a tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

''It sounded loud,'' the Atlanta Braves' reliever said. ''I thought it was gone.''

Gregory Polanco's drive to right field hit off the top of the 21-foot wall, however, and he was held to a double.

Venters then got Francisco Cervelli to hit a game-ending comebacker, preserving Atlanta's 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit another leadoff home run and Freddie Freeman had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to lift Julio Teheran and the Braves to a three-game sweep.

Polanco was disappointed his drive did not clear the high wall.

''It's unbelievable, man,'' he said. ''I hit the ball really hard. It's PNC (Park), man. Every other park, that's a homer.''

Acuna hit the fifth pitch out to left-center off Trevor Williams. It was the rookie's 20th homer and sixth leading off the first inning, including four in the last two weeks.

''He's so exciting,'' Teheran said. ''You expect him to hit a long ball every time he comes up.''

The NL East leaders went ahead 2-1 in the eighth when Freeman, who leads the league in hitting, sent a fly ball to deep left field off Edgar Santana. That came after Atlanta loaded the bases against Kyle Crick (2-2), who did not retire any of the three batters he faced.

''You'd love to score five or six runs every night, but that's not always going to happen,'' Freeman said. ''These are the types of games you have to win in a pennant race. It's a really good win for us.''

Atlanta moved three games ahead of the second-place Phillies, who lost 8-7 at Washington.

Freeman's sac fly made a winner of Teheran (9-7), who allowed one run and two hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking one. Teheran is 2-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last five starts.

Brad Brach struck out pinch-hitter David Freese with a runner on third to end the eighth. Venters completed the three-hitter and earned his second save.

Atlanta also mustered only three hits but won for the 17th time in 25 games.

It was seven years to the day since Venters converted his last save for the Braves on Aug. 22, 2011, at the Chicago Cubs. The left-hander missed five major league seasons from 2013-17 while recovering from three Tommy John operations. He returned this year with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Braves acquired Venters in a July trade and he got his first opportunity to fill in for injured closer A.J. Minter (lower back tightness) on Wednesday.

''I told Jonny I might be using him in some save situations and he was ready,'' Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

The Pirates got their run in the fifth when Colin Moran broke up Teheran's no-hit bid with a two-out RBI single. Pittsburgh's only other hit was a two-out single by Cervelli.

The Pirates have scored just 16 runs in their last 10 games, going 2-8.

Williams had another strong outing, permitting one run and two hits in six innings, but again was hurt by a lack of run support. Williams' ERA is 0.97 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break, yet his record is just 3-2. He is also 1-2 in four August starts despite a 1.44 ERA.

''He's pitched so well, and he pitched so well again tonight,'' Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. ''It was just fun to watch him out there like a kid in the backyard going to work.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: C Kurt Suzuki (bruised left triceps) was out of the lineup after being hit by a pitch but is not expected to go on the disabled list. C Chris Stewart was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to serve as a backup, and OF Michael Reed was optioned to the Stripers.

Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (left leg discomfort) is listed as the scheduled starter Sunday at Milwaukee. He left his start Monday night against Atlanta after four innings. ... 2B Josh Harrison (strained left hamstring) did not start for a third straight game but struck out as a pinch-hitter. ... INF-OF Sean Rodriguez (strained left abdominal muscle) is likely to begin a rehab assignment in the next few days. ... SS Jordy Mercer (strained left calf) took batting and fielding practice. ... INF Jung Ho Kang (left wrist surgery), on the disabled list at Triple-A Indianapolis, has been cleared to begin gripping exercises.

TRICK SHOT ARTIST

Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies hit a foul ball in the seventh inning that rebounded off the netting behind home plate and struck him on top of his batting helmet.

TURN BACK THE CLOCK

The Braves announced their weeknight and Sunday afternoon home games will begin 15 minutes earlier next season at 7:20 p.m. and 1:20 p.m., respectively.

UP NEXT

Braves: Open a four-game series Thursday night at Miami, with LHP Sean Newcomb (10-6, 3.73 ERA) facing RHP Dan Straily (4-6, 4.60).

Pirates: Begin a three-game series Friday night at Milwaukee, with RHP Joe Musgrove (5-7, 3.31 ERA) starting against LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 2.18).

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
ATL71-55
100000010230
PIT63-65
000010000130
  • W: J. Teheran (9-7)L: K. Crick (2-2)S: J. Venters (2)
  • HR: ATL - R. Acuna (20)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
R. Acuna LF31111110.286.354.566.9206.5
E. Inciarte CF40100003.249.306.352.6591.0
F. Freeman 1B30010011.319.401.527.9270.5
N. Markakis RF30000110.313.375.482.8570.5
J. Camargo 3B30000133.266.348.442.790-0.5
O. Albies 2B40000011.273.308.472.779-0.5
T. Flowers C30000101.222.358.339.6971.0
D. Swanson SS40100011.245.300.408.7092.5
J. Teheran P20000000.212.229.303.5320.0
a- A. Duvall PH01000100.201.283.380.6622.0
B. Brach P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
J. Venters P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-walked for Teheran in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
C. Dickerson LF40000000.304.335.476.8110.0
S. Marte CF40000020.271.315.457.772-1.0
G. Polanco RF40100000.241.333.485.8182.0
F. Cervelli C40100021.258.391.456.8470.0
A. Frazier 2B21000101.271.339.425.7642.0
J. Bell 1B20000101.261.346.400.7471.0
C. Moran 3B30110001.268.332.382.7142.0
A. Hechavarria SS30000011.258.293.343.635-0.5
T. Williams P10000000.059.086.059.1450.0
a- J. Harrison PH10000010.259.299.366.665-0.5
K. Kela P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Crick P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
E. Santana P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- D. Freese PH10000011.288.344.459.802-0.5
F. Vazquez P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-struck out for Williams in the 6th
  • b-struck out for Santana in the 8th
BATTING
  • HR - R. Acuna (20)
  • SF - F. Freeman (4)
  • RBI - R. Acuna (44), F. Freeman (78)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - F. Freeman, J. Camargo 3 (3), T. Flowers, D. Swanson
BATTING
  • 2B - G. Polanco (30)
  • RBI - C. Moran (46)
  • 2-Out RBI - C. Moran (23)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - F. Cervelli, A. Frazier, D. Freese
BASERUNNING
  • SB - D. Swanson (6)
FIELDING
  • Outfield Assist - N. Markakis (7)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Teheran (W, 9-7)7.02111504.091.1829.5
B. Brach (H, 10)1.00001104.011.662.5
J. Venters (S, 2)1.01000102.281.149.5
PITCHERSIP
J. Teheran (W, 9-7)7.0
B. Brach (H, 10)1.0
J. Venters (S, 2)1.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
T. Williams6.02112413.441.2018.0
K. Kela1.00000202.891.094.0
K. Crick (L, 2-2)0.01112002.401.25-9.0
E. Santana1.00001102.671.062.5
F. Vazquez1.00000102.721.193.5
PITCHERSIP
T. Williams6.0
K. Kela1.0
K. Crick (L, 2-2)0.0
E. Santana1.0
F. Vazquez1.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Teheran 85-53, B. Brach 20-12, J. Venters 15-11
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Teheran 5-10, B. Brach 2-0, J. Venters 2-0
  • Batters Faced - J. Teheran 23, B. Brach 4, J. Venters 4
PITCHING
  • WP - K. Crick (9)
  • IBB - E. Santana (2)
  • Pitches-Strikes - T. Williams 84-59, K. Kela 11-8, K. Crick 16-6, E. Santana 5-5, F. Vazquez 7-6
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - T. Williams 5-9, E. Santana 1-1
  • Batters Faced - T. Williams 22, K. Kela 3, K. Crick 3, E. Santana 4, F. Vazquez 3
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
ATL71-55
100000010230
PIT63-65
000010000130
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
R. Acuna LF31111110.286.354.566.9206.5
E. Inciarte CF40100003.249.306.352.6591.0
F. Freeman 1B30010011.319.401.527.9270.5
N. Markakis RF30000110.313.375.482.8570.5
J. Camargo 3B30000133.266.348.442.790-0.5
O. Albies 2B40000011.273.308.472.779-0.5
T. Flowers C30000101.222.358.339.6971.0
D. Swanson SS40100011.245.300.408.7092.5
J. Teheran P20000000.212.229.303.5320.0
a- A. Duvall PH01000100.201.283.380.6622.0
B. Brach P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
J. Venters P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total2923215810-----
  • a-walked for Teheran in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
C. Dickerson LF40000000.304.335.476.8110.0
S. Marte CF40000020.271.315.457.772-1.0
G. Polanco RF40100000.241.333.485.8182.0
F. Cervelli C40100021.258.391.456.8470.0
A. Frazier 2B21000101.271.339.425.7642.0
J. Bell 1B20000101.261.346.400.7471.0
C. Moran 3B30110001.268.332.382.7142.0
A. Hechavarria SS30000011.258.293.343.635-0.5
T. Williams P10000000.059.086.059.1450.0
a- J. Harrison PH10000010.259.299.366.665-0.5
K. Kela P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Crick P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
E. Santana P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- D. Freese PH10000011.288.344.459.802-0.5
F. Vazquez P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total291310276-----
  • a-struck out for Williams in the 6th
  • b-struck out for Santana in the 8th
BATTING
  • HR - R. Acuna (20)
  • SF - F. Freeman (4)
  • RBI - R. Acuna (44), F. Freeman (78)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - F. Freeman, J. Camargo 3 (3), T. Flowers, D. Swanson
BATTING
  • 2B - G. Polanco (30)
  • RBI - C. Moran (46)
  • 2-Out RBI - C. Moran (23)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - F. Cervelli, A. Frazier, D. Freese
BASERUNNING
  • SB - D. Swanson (6)
FIELDING
  • Outfield Assist - N. Markakis (7)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Teheran (W, 9-7)7.02111504.091.1829.5
B. Brach (H, 10)1.00001104.011.662.5
J. Venters (S, 2)1.01000102.281.149.5
Total9.0311270---
PITCHERSIP
J. Teheran (W, 9-7)7.0
B. Brach (H, 10)1.0
J. Venters (S, 2)1.0
Total9.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
T. Williams6.02112413.441.2018.0
K. Kela1.00000202.891.094.0
K. Crick (L, 2-2)0.01112002.401.25-9.0
E. Santana1.00001102.671.062.5
F. Vazquez1.00000102.721.193.5
Total9.0322581---
PITCHERSIP
T. Williams6.0
K. Kela1.0
K. Crick (L, 2-2)0.0
E. Santana1.0
F. Vazquez1.0
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Teheran 85-53, B. Brach 20-12, J. Venters 15-11
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Teheran 5-10, B. Brach 2-0, J. Venters 2-0
  • Batters Faced - J. Teheran 23, B. Brach 4, J. Venters 4
PITCHING
  • WP - K. Crick (9)
  • IBB - E. Santana (2)
  • Pitches-Strikes - T. Williams 84-59, K. Kela 11-8, K. Crick 16-6, E. Santana 5-5, F. Vazquez 7-6
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - T. Williams 5-9, E. Santana 1-1
  • Batters Faced - T. Williams 22, K. Kela 3, K. Crick 3, E. Santana 4, F. Vazquez 3
  • 8TH INNING
    Freeman hit sacrifice fly to left, Duvall scored, Acuna to third, Inciarte to second21
  • 5TH INNING
    Moran singled to right, Frazier scored, Moran out at second11
  • 1ST INNING
    Acuna homered to left center10
  • 9TH INNING
    • Felipe Vazquez pitching
    • O. Albies: Albies flied out to right
    • T. Flowers: Strike looking, Ball, Flowers flied out to center
    • D. Swanson: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Swanson struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • Jonny Venters relieved Brad Brach
    • C. Dickerson: Strike looking, Dickerson grounded out to shortstop
    • S. Marte: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Marte struck out swinging
    • G. Polanco: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Polanco doubled to deep right
    • F. Cervelli: Strike looking, Cervelli grounded out to pitcher
    • End of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • Kyle Crick relieved Keone Kela
    • D. Swanson: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Swanson singled to shallow left
    • Adam Duvall hit for Julio Teheran
    • A. Duvall: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Swanson to second on wild pitch, Ball, Ball, Duvall walked
    • R. Acuna: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Acuna walked, Duvall to second
    • Edgar Santana relieved Kyle Crick
    • E. Inciarte: Inciarte reached on fielder's choice to second, Swanson out at home, Duvall to third, Acuna to second
    • F. Freeman: Freeman hit sacrifice fly to left, Duvall scored, Acuna to third, Inciarte to second
    • N. Markakis: Markakis intentionally walked
    • J. Camargo: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Camargo struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 8th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • Brad Brach pitching
    • J. Bell: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Bell walked
    • C. Moran: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Moran grounded out to first, Bell to second
    • A. Hechavarria: Strike looking, Hechavarria grounded out to first, Bell to third
    • David Freese hit for Edgar Santana
    • D. Freese: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Freese struck out swinging
    • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 7TH INNING
    • Keone Kela pitching
    • J. Camargo: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Camargo struck out swinging
    • O. Albies: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Albies struck out swinging
    • T. Flowers: Strike looking, Flowers lined out to left
    • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • S. Marte: Marte lined out to shortstop
    • G. Polanco: Ball, Ball, Polanco fouled out to third
    • F. Cervelli: Cervelli singled to right center
    • A. Frazier: Ball, Ball, Frazier grounded out to first
    • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 6TH INNING
    • T. Williams Pitching:
    • E. Inciarte: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Foul, Inciarte lined out to first
    • F. Freeman: Ball, Strike swinging, Freeman grounded out to second
    • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Markakis struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • A. Hechavarria: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Hechavarria flied out to deep left
    • Josh Harrison hit for Trevor Williams
    • J. Harrison: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Harrison struck out swinging
    • C. Dickerson: Dickerson flied out to deep center
    • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • T. Williams Pitching:
    • D. Swanson: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Swanson grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Teheran: Ball, Teheran lined out to center
    • R. Acuna: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Acuna struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • F. Cervelli: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Cervelli struck out looking
    • A. Frazier: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Frazier walked
    • J. Bell: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Foul, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Bell grounded out to shortstop, Frazier to second
    • C. Moran: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Moran singled to right, Frazier scored, Moran out at second
    • End of the 5th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • T. Williams Pitching:
    • N. Markakis: Markakis lined out to center
    • J. Camargo: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Camargo walked
    • O. Albies: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Albies lined out to left
    • T. Flowers: Ball, Flowers flied out to left
    • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • C. Dickerson: Strike looking, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Dickerson grounded out to third
    • S. Marte: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul tip, Marte struck out on foul tip
    • G. Polanco: Ball, Polanco fouled out to third
    • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • T. Williams Pitching:
    • J. Teheran: Strike looking, Teheran flied out to center
    • R. Acuna: Acuna grounded out to third
    • E. Inciarte: Strike looking, Inciarte singled to shallow right
    • F. Freeman: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Freeman struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • C. Moran: Strike looking, Ball, Moran lined out to left
    • A. Hechavarria: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Hechavarria struck out swinging
    • T. Williams: Strike looking, Williams grounded out to third
    • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • T. Williams Pitching:
    • J. Camargo: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Camargo struck out swinging
    • O. Albies: Albies grounded out to second
    • T. Flowers: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Flowers walked
    • D. Swanson: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Swanson grounded out to third
    • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • F. Cervelli: Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Strike looking, Cervelli struck out looking
    • A. Frazier: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Frazier flied out to center
    • J. Bell: Bell lined out to center
    • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • T. Williams Pitching:
    • R. Acuna: Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Acuna homered to left center
    • E. Inciarte: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Inciarte lined out to second
    • F. Freeman: Ball, Freeman flied out to deep right
    • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Strike looking, Markakis lined out to left
    • Middle of the 1st (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. Teheran Pitching:
    • C. Dickerson: Dickerson lined out to first
    • S. Marte: Ball, Foul, Ball, Marte flied out to deep center
    • G. Polanco: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Polanco grounded out to pitcher
    • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)