Acuña departs with torn ACL as Sale, Braves top Pirates 8-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. left Atlanta's 8-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday after he tore his left ACL, and the Braves won behind Chris Sale.

Acuña opened the game with a double to right-center field against Martín Pérez. With Marcell Ozuna at the plate, Acuña started toward third on a stolen base attempt and his left knee gave way. The reigning NL MVP remained down for several minutes while being treated, pointing at his left leg before walking off under his own power.

The Braves’ initial diagnosis was left knee soreness. But the team announced Sunday night that an MRI showed a complete ACL tear that will require season-ending surgery.

Jarred Kelenic went 3 for 4 in place of Acuña, a 26-year-old outfielder batting .250 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 49 games.

Sale (8-1) struck out eight while pitching seven innings of one-run ball. It was another impressive outing for the 35-year-old left-hander, who has regained the form that earned him seven straight All-Star selections from 2012-18 before a string of injuries.

“Just doing what I need to do,” Sale said. “We all have our part on the team. Just posting every fifth day and trying to keep runs off the board. ... Take every start, you want to win. Had a couple rough ones over the last couple days. You want to end on a good note heading back home.”

Matt Olson homered and drove in three runs as Atlanta salvaged the finale of the three-game series.

Pérez allowed one run and four hits in three innings before departing with a left groin injury. The 33-year-old left-hander was checked after Kelenic beat him to first for a one-out single in the third. He then allowed an RBI double from Ozzie Albies that tied it at 1.

Pittsburgh also lost catcher Joey Bart, who was removed after the first inning and replaced by Yasmani Grandal because of a left thumb injury.

“Very, very strange,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the three injuries in the first three innings. “The Acuña thing, I actually didn't even see it happen. I watched the replay. ... That was a little concerning for a guy that's as talented (as he is) in our game, the way he went down. Then with Joey and Martín, yeah, I don't think I've ever seen that.”

Shelton said he expects to have more information on Pérez and Bart on Monday.

Grandal put Pittsburgh ahead with an RBI single in the second.

Travis d’Arnaud doubled off Carmen Mlodzinski (0-2) in the fourth and scored on Orlando Arcia’s sacrifice fly. Olson extended the lead to 4-1 with a two-run double in the fifth.

Leading off the eighth, Olson drove a fastball from Aroldis Chapman 420 feet into the Allegheny River beyond the Clemente Wall in right. Duvall homered 428 feet into the left-field bleachers off Chapman two batters later, giving the Braves a five-run cushion.

“Just kind of nice to see us break out and score a few runs,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Been kind of tough. It's great to see Matt have that kind of day and Jarred swung the bat really well. That was really good.”

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Charlie Morton (3-1, 3.35 ERA) takes the mound Monday as Atlanta heads home to start a four-game series against Washington and LHP Mitchell Parker (3-2, 3.32 ERA).

Pirates: RHP Jared Jones (3-4, 3.05 ERA) will start Tuesday, the first of a two-game set in Detroit. LHP Tarik Skubal (6-1, 2.25 ERA) starts for the Tigers.

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