MIAMI -- — Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. will have season-ending surgery to repair a completely torn ACL in his right knee after he was injured during Atlanta's 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
An MRI showed the severity of the injury and the Braves made the announcement shortly before midnight that their three-time All-Star will be out until at least next year.
Acuña landed awkwardly on his right leg after jumping on the warning track in right field to try to catch a drive from Jazz Chisholm Jr. in the fifth inning. The 23-year-old slammed into the outfield wall and crumbled on the warning track, immediately grabbing his right knee while Chisholm sprinted out an inside-the-park homer.
Acuña tried to walk off but dropped back to the ground in shallow right field. A trainer tended to him while a cart was retrieved, and concerned teammates gathered quietly around him.
Tears welled in his eyes as he waited. When the cart pulled around to the nearby warning track, he had to be helped over and did not put any weight on his right leg.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said immediately after the game that Acuña was undergoing evaluation and the team didn't expect to have news until Sunday morning.
“He’s in a lot of pain, I can tell you that. It’s a tough break for the team and for him,” he said.
Max Fried gave up three straight hits but settled down to retire the side with two strikeouts after the injury.
“You never like to see one of your teammates come up injured after trying to make a great play,” Fried said. “It’s obviously very unfortunate, but you have to stay with the task at hand and finish the game.”
Chisholm at first thought Acuña was going to make the catch and didn’t realize the severity of the injury until after he crossed home plate.
“A guy like that, him getting injured, the baseball world is going to miss him if he’s out for a long time,” Chisholm said. “Hopefully he gets better.”
Acuña was slated to start in the outfield for the NL All-Star team in Tuesday’s game. He is hitting .283 with 24 home runs and 52 RBI for the three-time defending NL East champions, who started the day in second place behind the New York Mets.
Freddie Freeman had a two-run homer and an RBI single, while Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley ripped doubles as the first three Braves reached base off All-Star pitcher Trevor Rogers (7-6) in the fourth inning. Atlanta has won three straight over Miami.
Acuña doubled in the top of the fifth and scored on Freeman’s shot over the right-field wall.
Max Fried (6-5), who went five innings with five strikeouts while surrendering nine hits, had to compose himself quickly after the injury.
“I was just trying to find my rhythm again; it was huge being able to get those last two strikeouts,” Fried said. (The injury) is tough, but you have to get your focus back.”
Rogers lasted four innings and gave up three runs, two earned, while striking out four and walking two.
Rogers’ own miscue led to an unearned run in the third. After walking Jonathan Lucroy, the lefty threw wildly past first baseman Jesus Aguilar. Lucroy later raced home from second on Freeman’s single.
Prior to leaving the game in the fifth with mild intercostal soreness, Adam Duvall continued to be a nemesis to his former team. The Marlins slugger lined a two-out double in the first inning and followed that with a two-run single in the third.
The Marlins loaded the bases with one out after Acuña’s injury, but Fried struck out Jon Berti and Jorge Alfaro to maintain Atlanta’s two-run advantage. Miami left runners on second and third in the first inning, too.
Chisholm’s RBI single accounted for the Marlins’ final run in the ninth inning.
Chisholm’s inside-the-park home run was not only the first of his career but the first by the Marlins since JT Riddle accomplished the feat on May 29, 2018 in San Diego. It was also the first for the Marlins at home since J.T. Realmuto on Sept. 8, 2015.
Marlins: LHP Shawn Morimando, who pitched five scoreless innings on Friday, was designated for assignment. RHP Preston Guilmet was recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville as a long-relief option.
Braves: C Travis d’Arnaud (torn ligaments in left thumb) continues to make strides and is swinging a bat with both hands, and RHP Huascar Ynoa is progressing with long tosses and will throw off the mound in a couple days.
RHP Ian Anderson (5-4, 3-27) gets the start for the Braves, while the Marlins counter with RHP Pablo López (4-5, 2.94) in the finale for both teams prior to the All-Star break.
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