Atlanta Braves
Acuña hits grand slam after early fracas, Braves top Pirates
Atlanta Braves

Acuña hits grand slam after early fracas, Braves top Pirates

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 8:21 p.m. ET

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves stayed hot by hitting five home runs on a night a first-inning, stare-down contest created the biggest stir.

Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a grand slam, Ozzie Albies added two homers and the Braves beat Pittsburgh 13-7 on Monday night after Pirates starter Joe Musgrove was ejected in a first-inning fracas.

The Braves hit five homers, including two-run shots by Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman. Markakis had four hits and drove in four runs.

Starling Marte hit two homers and drove in four runs for Pittsburgh.


Atlanta has won four straight, while the Pirates are on a four-game skid.

Musgrove hit Josh Donaldson with a first-inning pitch. As Donaldson began walking to first base, he exchanged glares with Musgrove, took a few steps toward the mound and then shoved catcher Elias Díaz, who intervened. The umpires huddled and announced ejections for Musgrove and Donaldson.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle also was ejected by home plate umpire Brian Gorman after arguing the decision to toss Musgrove.

Musgrove's pitch only grazed Donaldson's jersey, but players from both dugouts and bullpens charged onto the field following the confrontation as Musgrove took off his cap and removed his glove. No punches were thrown and the field was quickly cleared.

Donaldson said he wasn't "really all that upset at all about getting hit by the pitch. It barely clipped me." He said he responded to an aggressive reaction by Musgrove.

"I feel like he came down the mound afterward," Donaldson said. "I looked away to try to give him a chance to look away from me. He kept coming down the mound and looking at me and obviously he had a problem with something."

Musgrove said he "did nothing more than stand my ground."

Musgrove said Donaldson "stared at me and tried to intimidate me and I'm not going to let that happen. I looked back at him and he had something to say and he crossed the line and came at me so I took my hat and glove off and got ready to fight and that got me tossed. I don't know what else I could do in that situation. ... I'm not going to run away and hide."

Hurdle placed the blame on Donaldson.

"The hard part is if the batter goes to first none of this happens," Hurdle said.

Braves right-hander Kevin Gausman struggled despite being given a 5-1 lead in the second inning. Gausman was pulled in the third when he gave up a three-run homer to Marte.

"The last couple of outings haven't been very good and it didn't look like it was going anywhere good today," said Braves manager Brian Snitker.

Marte hit another homer off Jerry Blevins in the eighth for his first multi-homer game since Aug. 18, 2014, also against Atlanta.

Left-hander Sean Newcomb (1-0) relieved Gausman and allowed only one hit with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Jacob Webb earned his second save. He entered the game with a 10-7 lead and recorded the final four outs.

Right-hander Alex McRae (0-2), who replaced Musgrove, allowed eight runs, six earned. He gave up three homers in 4 1/3 innings.

Gausman allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. His ERA climbed to 6.21.


Pirates: RHP Jordan Lyles was placed on the 10-day injured list with tightness in his left hamstring. Lyles lasted only three innings in Saturday's loss at Milwaukee. Hurdle said Lyles' hamstring issue caused "collateral damage" to the bullpen. ... RHP Montana DuRapau was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and gave up three runs in the eighth.

Braves: There is no timetable on the return of OF Ender Inciarte (back). Inciarte was placed on the 10-day IL on May 15 and continues to have discomfort. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner who signed a one-year deal with Atlanta last week, allowed only one hit and had nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings for Class A Rome. He may make his Atlanta debut after one more minor league start.


Markakis earned an ovation in the sixth inning after his run-scoring single gave him 1,000 career RBIs. Markakis, who rarely shows emotion, tipped his helmet to the fans and briefly smiled. The Braves had a clubhouse toast for Markakis following the game.

"Like I said, it just means I'm getting old," the 35-year-old Markakis said, before adding, "It was a good night."


Pirates rookie Bryan Reynolds went 0-for-5, ending his 17-game hitting streak and 24-game streak of reaching base safely.


The 436-foot shot to left field was Acuña's first career regular-season slam . He hit a slam in last season's NL division series loss to the Dodgers.


Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (3-5, 5.20 ERA) will make his second straight start against the Braves after allowing one run in six innings in a 6-1 home win on Thursday.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-5, 5.89) is 1-4 with a 6.26 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates. He allowed three runs in six innings in Thursday's loss at Pittsburgh.


Get more from Atlanta Braves Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more