Atlanta • Perfect games? Unassisted triple plays? They’re not even as rare as what Ronald Acuña Jr. pulled off Monday night.
His legend growing with each game, the 20-year-old rookie hit leadoff homers in both games of a doubleheader to lead the first-place Atlanta Braves to a sweep of the Miami Marlins.
Acuña appeared to be only the fourth player in baseball history to accomplish the feat, and certainly the youngest.
Two others, Rickey Henderson and Harry Hooper, are in the Hall of Fame.
By comparison, there have been 23 perfect games and 15 unassisted triple plays.
“It’s pretty special,” said Braves star Freddie Freeman, who also homered in Game 2. “He’s some kind of hot right now. What he’s doing at the plate, you just don’t see it very often.”
Acuña hit an opposite-field drive into the Braves’ bullpen in the opener, powering Atlanta to a 9-1 victory. Haitian-American Touki Toussaint pitched six strong innings to claim the win in his major league debut.
It was more of the same from Acuña in the nightcap. He sent a towering shot into the seats in left-center, sparking the Braves to a 6-1 win behind another strong outing on the mound from Mike Foltynewicz.
Over the course of about nine hours, Acuna went 5-for-8 with two homers, five RBIs, five runs, two walks and a stolen base.
“I just found out,” he said through a translator when asked if he knew about his unique double. “I give thanks to God for the opportunity to make history in my own sense.”
The Elias Sports Bureau said Baltimore’s Brady Anderson was the last to hit a pair of leadoff homers in one day against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 21, 1999.
Mets 8, Yankees 5 • In New York, Jacob deGrom struck out 12 and the Mets backed him in a big way, hitting five home runs while battering Luis Severino and the Yankees. Amed Rosario led off this Subway Series matchup with a drive into the right-field seats and Jose Bautista, Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto later connected. DeGrom (7-7), a victim of poor run support most of the season, threw 62⁄3 innings and left with a major league-best 1.81 ERA. He allowed two earned runs.
Cardinals 7, Nationals 6 • In St. Louis, Paul DeJong handed Washington a second straight walk-off loss, capping a back-and-forth finish with a game-ending solo homer in the ninth inning of the Cardinals’ victory. DeJong took Koda Glover (0-1) deep leading off the ninth on a 3-1 pitch. A night earlier, Ryan Madson allowed a game-ending ninth-inning grand slam to the Chicago Cubs’ David Bote to end a 4-3 defeat.
Rangers 5, Diamondbacks 3 • In Arlington, Texas, Bartolo Colon won his first start since setting the record for victories by a Latin American pitcher, going five innings to help the Rangers beat Arizona. Robinson Chirinos hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fourth inning to end Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke’s streak of nine straight starts allowing two runs or fewer. Colon (7-10) got his 247th career win.
Royals 3, Blue Jays 1 • In Kansas City, Mo., Ryan O’Hearn homered and drove in a career-high three runs, Brad Keller threw seven strong innings and the Royals beat Toronto to spoil Sean Reid-Foley’s major league debut. Reid-Foley (0-1) was removed after 97 pitches and five innings, allowing three runs, six hits and three walks while striking out three. Reid-Foley is only the second player in major league history to be born in Guam. He was 12-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 23 minor league starts this season. O’Hearn, a rookie who entered hitting .130 with three RBIs, hit an opposite-field homer on Reid-Foley’s first pitch with Brett Phillips aboard with two outs in the second.
Tigers 9, White Sox 5 • In Detroit, Nicholas Castellanos had a career-high five hits, including a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, and drove in five runs as the Tigers beat Chicago. Castellanos singled in the first, doubled and scored in the fourth, hit an RBI double in the fifth and hit a two-run home run off Jeanmar Gomez (0-1) in the seventh. It was the sixth five-RBI game of his career, including one against the White Sox on June 16. Castellanos came up again in the eighth with the bases loaded and two outs, needing a triple for the cycle, but settled for a two-run single that put the Tigers ahead 9-5.
Indians 10, Reds 3 • In Cincinnati, Jose Ramirez connected for his 35th homer and Yandy Diaz hit a tiebreaking RBI double in Cleveland’s seven-run sixth inning, helping the Indians pull away from the Reds. Ramirez, Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes had three hits apiece in Cleveland’s fifth win in six games. Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis each drove in two runs.