Mariano Rivera earns 30th save despite surrendering homer

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For just the third time in his Hall of Fame career, Mariano Rivera has given up homers in back-to-back relief appearances.  However, It didn’t prevent him from notching his 30th save Thursday against the Angels.

Rivera, who gave up a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in a loss to the Angels on Tuesday, came into a 6-2 game with two on and one out in the ninth inning today.  He promptly allowed a three-run homer to Russell Branyan, making it 6-5.  However, he was able to retire the next two batters he faced to end the contest.

The previous times Rivera gave up homers in consecutive appearances came in Aug. 2003 against the Orioles and in April 2009 versus the Red Sox and Tigers.  It also happened to him twice as a rookie in 1995, but he started both games the first time and one game during the second streak.

On the positive side, Rivera’s save today gave him 14 seasons of at least 30, tying Trevor Hoffman’s major league record.  Lee Smith is the only other pitcher with double-digit 30-save seasons, and he finished with just the 10.  Billy Wagner had nine.

Grudge continues to fester between Braves, Marlins

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The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.

In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.

Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.

Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.