Acuña homers twice, Braves beat Nationals 8-2


Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a pair of solo home runs and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_11004 Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. hits a solo home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_94590 Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Muller throws to the Washington Nationals during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_84806 Atlanta Braves’ Orlando Arcia hits a solo home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_21315 Atlanta Braves’ Dansby Swanson scores on a triple by Michael Harris II during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_98059 Washington Nationals starting pitcher Paolo Espino throws to the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_93903 Washington Nationals’ Luke Voit hits an RBI single against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_81809 Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bryce Elder throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_28944 Washington Nationals designated hitter Luke Voit hits a double against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel

Braves_Nationals_Baseball_83259 Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley throws to first to put out Washington Nationals’ Lane Thomas during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Washington.

AP Photo/Nick Wass

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a pair of solo home runs and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.

Orlando Arcia also homered and Michael Harris II had a two-run triple for the Braves, who began the night one game behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East. Both teams have seven games remaining after Tuesday, including a head-to-head three-game series beginning Friday in Atlanta.

With the win, the Braves (97-58) are guaranteed the No. 2 playoff seed in the National League if they finish ahead of the Mets.

Victor Robles homered and Luke Voit had two doubles for the last-place Nationals (53-101).

Kyle Muller, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to start for the Braves, allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. Collin McHugh (3-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Paolo Espino (0-8) retired the first 10 Braves batters before giving up four runs and five hits.

Harris tied the score 2-all with a two-run triple in the fourth.

With two outs in the fifth, Arcia’s fly ball just cleared the wall in left for his second homer in two games. Acuña followed with a line drive down the left-field line to make it 4-2.

Harris started a two-out rally in the sixth with an infield single. He was initially called out at first base, but Atlanta challenged and it was overturned. William Contreras singled and Eddie Rosario smacked a two-run double off the wall in center.

Acuña’s second home run of the night and 15th of the season made it 7-2 in the seventh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (elbow inflammation) had his fourth rehab outing at Triple-A Rochester on Monday night, pitching 3 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on six hits. He will throw a bullpen in Washington this week.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 4.61 ERA) is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in four starts since his last win. He has never faced the Nationals.

Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (7-10, 5.17) threw five scoreless innings while allowing one hit in his only other 2022 start against the Braves on April 13 in Atlanta.

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