Ronald Acuna Jr.’s historic slam guides Braves past Dodgers

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Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a grand slam Thursday that landed in the record books, powering the visiting Atlanta Braves to a wild 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opening game of a showdown series between the top two teams in the National League.

Acuna became the first player with 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in the same season as the Braves moved five games clear of the Dodgers atop the NL. Acuna had three hits, four RBIs and a walk. In addition to belting his 30th homer, he stole his 62nd base.

Austin Riley and Michael Harris II both homered and singled while Spencer Strider recovered from a slow start to help Atlanta earn its fourth consecutive victory and its eighth in nine games.

Mookie Betts hit two home runs for the Dodgers to keep pace in his MVP duel with Acuna. Max Muncy and rookie Michael Busch also went deep as Los Angeles fell just short after trailing 7-1.

Los Angeles starter Lance Lynn (10-10) gave up seven runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, with two walks and one strikeout. Lynn allowed three home runs on Thursday, and he has given up a major-league-leading 37.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Muncy fielder’s-choice grounder.

Atlanta loaded the bases with one out in the second inning and tied it when Nicky Lopez walked. Acuna followed with his grand slam to left-center field for his piece of history. Two batters later, Riley hit a home run, his 32nd, for a 6-1 lead.

Harris’ home run in the fifth inning, his 13th, put Atlanta on top 7-1.

The Dodgers cut the deficit in half when Betts hit a three-run home run to right in the fifth, with the ball bouncing off the top of the wall.

Strider (16-4) gave up four runs on four hits over six innings with two walks and nine strikeouts to sole possession of the major league lead in wins.

Harris had an RBI single in the sixth to put Atlanta up 8-4. The Dodgers cut that deficit to 8-6 in the seventh when Busch (his second) and Betts (his 38th) hit home runs off Joe Jimenez in a span of three batters. Jimenez had not given up a homer since May 16, a span of 33 outings and 32 2/3 innings.

Muncy brought the Dodgers within a run in the eight with his 32nd home run. It was Muncy’s ninth consecutive game with an extra-base hit, tying the franchise record.

Braves right-hander Raisel Iglesias had two aboard with one out in the ninth before getting Muncy on a fly ball and striking out Enrique Hernandez for his 27th save.