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Ronald Acuña hits leadoff home run for third consecutive game

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña hit leadoff home runs in both games of Monday’s doubleheader against the Marlins, becoming the first hitter to accomplish that specific feat since the Orioles’ Brady Anderson on August 21, 1999. Acuña kept it going, hitting another leadoff home run to kick off Tuesday’s game against the Marlins. Acuña jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Trevor Richards, blasting it into the seats in left field.

The 20-year-old has also homered in five consecutive games and in seven of his last eight games. He is the youngest player in baseball history to homer in five straight games. Acuña is the first Brave to homer in five straight games since Brian McCann in 2006.

After his first-inning home run, Acuña is hitting .285/.344/.565 with 18 home runs, 40 RBI, and 48 runs scored in 285 plate appearances.

The Braves entered Tuesday’s action one game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East. With the Phillies hosting the Red Sox — baseball’s best team — for a two-game series, the Braves could pick up a couple more games in the standings.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.