Bryce Harper added to his home run total on Saturday, cranking a first-pitch homer out to Ashburn Alley to get the Phillies on the board in the first inning. According to Statcast’s projections, the ball registered a total 466 feet, marking his second-longest blast to date and the longest Phillies home run at Citizens Bank Park in the Statcast era.
With the blast, Harper snapped an eight-game streak without an RBI. He last drove in a run on May 7 with a grand slam off of the Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, he’s batting a lackluster .230/.371/.460 with eight homers and an .831 OPS through 197 plate appearances.
Things continued to fall apart for the Rockies in the third inning when Jean Segura scored on a wild pitch to give the Phillies an extra run of support. Ryan McMahon tried to close the gap with an RBI double in the seventh, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the job done. After closing out their 2-1 win, the Phillies improved to a 26-19 record and a two-game lead at the top of the NL East.
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.