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Braves hammer Pirates in injury-filled series finale

Noah Hiles, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Baseball

PITTSBURGH -- The final score of Sunday’s contest at PNC Park only tells a fraction of the story that unfolded that afternoon.

While the Braves in the end finished as the winning club, defeating the Pirates 8-1, the game dealt a tough blow to both teams. Three players left the game due to injury Sunday afternoon, each coming in separate incidents that all occurred in the first three innings.

The madness began just two batters into the game, when Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. suffered a non-contact injury to his left knee. In the midst of an attempt to steal third base between pitches, Acuna attempted to pivot on the basepath, causing his knee to give out.

After rolling around in pain for a few minutes, the 2023 National League MVP was able to exit the field with a heavy limp. The Braves announced later in the game that Acuna was removed due to “left knee soreness.”

In that same frame, Pirates catcher Joey Bart suffered an injury to his left thumb. Bart was replaced by Yasmani Grandal in the top of the second, who went on to drive in the game’s first run in the bottom half of the inning.

With a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, Pirates starter Martin Perez was then bit with the injury bug. Perez’s incident occurred when covering first base on a ground ball to the right side of the infield. The left-handed veteran showed noticeable discomfort after the play, leading manager Derek Shelton and the team’s training staff to examine him on the mound.

 

After showing enough to remain in the game, Perez allowed an RBI double to Ozzie Albies, which tied the game at one. The 33-year-old southpaw battled through what would later be announced as a left groin injury for the remainder of the frame, preventing any further damage.

Brian Snitker’s lineup took full advantage of Perez’s early exit. Orlando Arcia but his team ahead 2-1 on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth. Matt Olsen then extended his team’s lead the following inning with a double that brought home two more runs.

After being held in check by Hunter Stratton for the sixth and seventh, the Braves offense added on again in the final two frames.

Olsen and Adam Duvall each tagged Aroldis Chapman for a solo home run in the top of the eighth, the latter sending his big fly into the Allegheny River. Kyle Nicolas allowed two more runs in the top of the ninth, pushing his ERA to 6.75.

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