Acuna singles, scores in MLB debut, Braves beat Reds 5-4
By MARK SCHMETZER, Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — Prized prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. looked like a polished veteran.
The 20-year-old Acuna singled and scored the tying run in the eighth inning of his big league debut, and the Atlanta Braves went on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 Wednesday night.
Acuna became the youngest player in the majors when he was called up from Triple-A before the game. He went 1 for 5 and played left field.
“As soon as I hit the field, I felt at home,” Acuna said through a translator. “I felt comfortable.”
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker saw no signs of nerves from his prodigy.
“I thought he was really good,” Snitker said. “Nothing affected him. He wasn’t overwhelmed. He went out and played his game.”
Acuna asked for jersey No. 13, following fellow Venezuelans Dave Concepcion, Ozzie Guillen and Omar Vizquel. The newcomer twice flied out deep, and struck out twice.
Ozzie Albies, the second-youngest player in the bigs at 21, homered for Atlanta. He was hit by a pitch to begin the ninth and scored on the go-ahead run on Johan Camargo’s second double of the game, a sharp one-hopper that shortstop Cliff Pennington couldn’t backhand.
“If you put the ball in play, good things can happen,” Snitker said.
Camargo drove in two runs and Ender Inciarte had three hits for the Braves, who led 3-0 after four innings. Acuna scored on Kurt Suzuki’s two-out single in the eighth to make it 4-all.
Jesse Biddle allowed three hits over two scoreless innings, Dan Winkler (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth and A.J. Minter worked the ninth for his first career save.
Kevin Shackelford (0-1) took the loss in his first appearance of the season since coming off the disabled list. The Reds dropped to 5-19, matching the 1931 team for the worst 24-game start in club history.
Joey Votto’s two-run drive, his second homer in two nights, got the Reds on the board in the fifth.
Reds starter Brandon Finnegan, who opened the season on the disabled list with a strained left biceps, allowed two earned in five innings.
“We made it tough on Brandon Finnegan,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “We missed a couple opportunities and fell behind early but we scored four after missing a couple. It came back to bite us.”
Braves starter Matt Wisler was roughed up for nine hit and four runs in five innings.
Adam Duvall was called out to end the fifth inning while trying to score the tying run from first on Scott Schebler’s double, but a video review requested by the Reds led to the call being overturned after a 2-minute, 10-second look.
A 33-second video review showed that Nick Markakis beat out what originally was ruled to be a double-play grounder with nobody out in the Atlanta ninth.
Albies’ fifth-inning home run was his seventh of the season. He hit six in 57 games last season.
The Reds loaded the bases in the first inning with three hard-hit singles but squandered the opportunity with Scooter Gennett’s short flyout and the slumping Duvall’s double-play grounder. Duvall is 2 for 25 over his last seven games. They also failed to score after loading the bases with one out in the seventh.
Umpire CB Bucknor returned after leaving Monday’s game and missing Tuesday’s game with an illness. Bucknor umpired at first base.
Reds: 3B Eugenio Suarez is 1 for 5 with a double and two walks in the first two games of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. He went on the disabled list on April 9 with a fractured right thumb.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (1-1, 3.74) is Atlanta’s scheduled starter in Thursday’s finale of the four-game series.
Reds: Hard-luck RHP Homer Bailey (0-3, 3.68), whose ERA is the best of Cincinnati’s starters, is due to start the final game of Cincinnati’s brief four-game homestand.