PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ronald Acuna Jr. hit another leadoff home run and Freddie Freeman had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to lift Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves over the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Wednesday night for a three-game sweep.
Acuna hit the fifth pitch out to right-center off Trevor Williams. It was the rookie’s 21st homer and sixth leading off the first inning, including four in the last two weeks.
The NL East leaders went ahead 2-1 in the eighth when Freeman, who leads the league in hitting, sent a fly ball to deep left field off Edgar Santana. That came after Atlanta loaded the bases against Kyle Crick (2-2), who did not retire any of the three batters he faced.
Freeman’s sac fly made a winner of Teheran (9-7), who allowed one run and two hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking one. Teheran is 2-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last five starts.
Brad Brach struck out pinch-hitter David Freese with a runner on third to end the eighth. Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless ninth, surviving Gregory Polanco’s double off the top of the 21-foot wall in right field with two outs, to complete the three-hitter and earn his second save.
Atlanta also mustered only three hits but won for the 17th time in 25 games.
The Pirates got their run in the fifth when Colin Moran broke up Teheran’s no-hit bid with a two-out RBI single. Pittsburgh’s only other hit was a two-out single by Francisco Cervelli.
The Pirates have scored just 16 runs in their last 10 games, going 2-8.
Williams had another strong outing, permitting one run and two hits in six innings, but again was hurt by a lack of run support. Williams’ ERA is 0.97 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break, yet his record is just 3-2. He is also 1-2 in four August starts despite a 1.44 ERA.
Braves: C Kurt Suzuki (bruised left triceps) was out of the lineup after being hit by a pitch but is not expected to go on the disabled list. C Chris Stewart was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to serve as a backup, and OF Michael Reed was optioned to the Stripers. . Lefty closer A.J. Minter (lower back tightness) sat out his fourth game in a row.
Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (left leg discomfort) is listed as the scheduled starter Sunday at Milwaukee. He left his start Monday night against Atlanta after four innings. . 2B Josh Harrison (strained left hamstring) did not start for a third straight game but struck out as a pinch-hitter. . INF-OF Sean Rodriguez (strained left abdominal muscle) is likely to begin a rehab assignment in the next few days. . SS Jordy Mercer (strained left calf) took batting and fielding practice. . INF Jung Ho Kang (left wrist surgery), on the disabled list at Triple-A Indianapolis, has been cleared to begin gripping exercises.
TRICK SHOT ARTIST
Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies hit a foul ball in the seventh inning that rebounded off the netting behind home plate and struck him on top of his batting helmet.
TURN BACK THE CLOCK
The Braves announced their weeknight and Sunday afternoon home games will begin 15 minutes earlier next season at 7:20 p.m. and 1:20 p.m., respectively.
Braves: Open a four-game series Thursday night at Miami, with LHP Sean Newcomb (10-6, 3.73 ERA) facing RHP Dan Straily (4-6, 4.60).
Pirates: Begin a three-game series Friday night at Milwaukee, with RHP Joe Musgrove (5-7, 3.31 ERA) starting against LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 2.18).
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)