Braves-Marlins benches empty after hot-hitting Ronald Acuña Jr. drilled by first pitch

Atlanta Braves rookie Ronald Acuña Jr. has spent the week abusing Miami Marlins pitching, leading off each of the first three games in the series with a home run. In Wednesday’s finale, the Marlins flipped the script in a painful way when starting pitcher Jose Ureña drilled Acuña with his first pitch of the game.

The 97.5 mph fastball hit Acuña square in the left elbow and left the hot-hitting rookie in considerable pain. From there, the situation quickly escalated into a benches-clearing incident as the Braves clearly felt there were bad intentions behind the Ureña’s pitch. The umpires agreed, ejecting the 26-year-old right-hander from the game immediately.

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Both benches were warned and the game was completed without further incident. The Braves completed a four-game sweep with a 5-2 victory.

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Benches clear after Braves' Acuña Jr. hit by pitch
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Benches clear after Braves' Acuña Jr. hit by pitch
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves is hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves is hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves reacts to being hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves reacts to being hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: The benches clear after Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves was hit by by a pitch from Jose Urena of the Miami Marlins at the start of the first inning at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Manager Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves argues with the umpires after Ronald Acuna Jr. #13was hit by a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Aug 15, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) (kneeling) is treated after being hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 15, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) (on the ground) is treated after being hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 15, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte (11) reacts as dugouts empty after left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) (not shown) is hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 (R) of the Atlanta Braves reacts to being hit by the first pitch of the game against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Jose Urena #62 of the Miami Marlins is ejected by umpire Chad Fairchild #4 during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Manager Don Mattingly #8 of the Miami Marlins argues with the umpires after Jose Urena was ejected during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Jose Urena #62 of the Miami Marlins walks off the field after being ejected during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves exits the game during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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What is Ronald Acuña Jr.’s status?

Acuña initially remained in the game, but was removed before the next defensive inning. X-rays were negative, but manager Brian Snitker says his star rookie is still being evaluated. A CT scan was reportedly performed and the Braves should have a firm update on his status Thursday.

Did Jose Ureña hit Ronald Acuña Jr. on purpose?

It’s never easy to read true intentions of a pitcher, but the visual evidence here seems to speak volumes. The measurable readings offer more evidence that Ureña had purpose as he ramped up the velocity on his first delivery.

The quick ejection indicates the umpires felt there was intent. It’s the first time a pitcher has been ejected for hitting the first batter since John Lackey of the Los Angeles Angels hit Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers on May 16, 2009.

The Braves are understandably angry

Despite the win and at least one positive update on Acuña, the Braves weren’t ready to let the situation go after the game. Snitker in particular was emotional while reiterating how the Braves clubhouse felt about the incident.

Longtime Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was even stronger with his words. He pointed the finger directly at Ureña, calling his actions “gutless.”

Acuña entered having homered in a Braves franchise record tying five straight games. That streak, by the way, does not end as a result of Wednesday’s developments.

The Marlins were not thrilled either

Marlins manager Don Mattingly had Ureña’s back, but not to the point that he felt Ureña was void of blame. Mattingly says the matter was discussed with Ureña and that hitting batters in not how Miami want to handle combating hot hitters.

The league will have the final say on this matter. We’re guessing a suspension is coming Ureña’s way.

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