Acuña hits 2 HRs as power-hitting Braves keep rolling, beat Ryan, Twins 6-2

ATLANTA -- — Ronald Acuña Jr. hit two of Atlanta's five homers — all in the first two innings — and the power-hitting Braves beat Joe Ryan and the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Tuesday night.

Acuña sparked the barrage of long balls by hitting Ryan's first pitch into the Braves' bullpen in right field. Thanks to a productive June, the Braves lead the majors with 146 homers. Beginning the night, the Los Angeles Dodgers were second with 124.

Atlanta hit five homers in its first 10 at-bats and has 54 this month, only two shy of the franchise record for any month set with 56 in June 2019.

“It's incredible, incredible to see what we've been doing,” Acuña said through a translator.

The NL East-leading Braves have won four straight and 12 of 13. Minnesota (40-41) fell below .500 but still leads the AL Central.

Austin Riley hit a two-run shot and Sean Murphy also hit a homer in the Braves' four-run first inning. Michael Harris II and Acuña added back-to-back shots in the second. It marked the first time the Braves hit five homers in the first two innings since May 28, 2003, against Cincinnati.

“The lineup for us, I'm glad I don't have to face it,” said Braves right-hander Bryce Elder (6-1), who overcame four walks to allow two runs in six innings, leaving his NL-leading ERA at 2.44.

Manager Brian Snitker said Elder “really struggled to make it happen" and “kind of got his second breath” in the fifth.

“His last two innings were probably his best,” Snitker said.


Ryan (8-5), coming off a 6-0 win over Boston on Thursday, had allowed only two homers in four June starts, and eight for the season. The Braves ended the right-hander's momentum early.

Ryan allowed nine hits and six runs in three innings in his shortest start of the season. The five homers allowed matched his career high set on July 9, 2022, at San Diego.

It was a rare bad start for Minnesota, which has relied on strong starting pitching through the first half of the season.

“Our starting pitching has carried us and done a lot of good things and continues to do so,” manager Rocco Baldelli said before the game. “We expect the same, if not better, from those guys going forward and that’s asking a lot but that’s OK. We’re going to ask them for a lot.”


The Braves committed four errors, including two on one second-inning play, but still had so many fielding highlights Snitker said it was “probably our best defensive game of the year. We made some great plays.”

Acuña provided a defensive highlight on the night of his No. 13 gold chain giveaway for fans. He made a leaping catch of a drive by Royce Lewis in right field in the fourth.

The Braves added another strong defensive play to end the fifth when second baseman Ozzie Albies made a diving stop of Max Kepler's grounder. Albies flipped the ball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who threw to first for the out. Minutes later, TV cameras spotted Albies and Arcia smiling as their admired a replay on a computer in the dugout.


Twins: Baldelli said RHP Brock Stewart, placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow soreness, will have tests to confirm tendonitis caused the problem. Baldelli said he hopes Stewart, one of the team’s top setup men, has a short stay on the IL. The move came one day after the team announced RHP José De León will need a second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Braves: LHP Max Fried (strained left forearm) could throw throw to hitters this week and next week after having no difficulties in his third bullpen session on Monday. He could then have an injury rehab with the hopes of returning to Atlanta in late July.


The Braves will recall LHP Kolby Allard to face RHP Kenta Maeda (1-4, 6.86) in Wednesday's final game of the series. Allard will be making his first start in the majors since starting 17 games for Texas in 2021. Allard has a 2.70 ERA in two starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this season.


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