Ronald Acuna Jr Suffers Elbow Injury After Being Hit by 1st Pitch; Benches Clear

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2018

Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) stands between pitcher Jose Urena (62) and Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker (43) as the dugouts empty after Urena hit Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. with a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018m in Atlanta. Marlins' Derek Dietrich (32) and Braves' Ender Inciarte argue at right. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Atlanta Braves rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. had homered to lead off each of his team's past three games, but Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Urena ended the streak on Wednesday night after hitting Acuna. 

Urena drilled Acuna on the left elbow with a 97 mph fastball with his first pitch of the night, leading to both benches clearing:

Given the circumstances, there were questions as to whether or not it was intentional:

Urena was ejected for throwing at the batter. Acuna was able to remain in the game to run the bases, but he was ultimately removed from the game after the first inning. Recent acquisition Adam Duvall replaced him in left field.

According to the Braves, X-rays on Acuna's left elbow came back negative. He also underwent a CT scan, the results of which will be announced Thursday. 

Acuna entered the game with a franchise-record five consecutive games with a home run. Per the Braves, that streak will officially remain alive:

He is the youngest player in MLB history to accomplish the feat. Entering Wednesday's game, he had eight dingers in eight games.

The 20-year-old has put himself firmly in the National League Rookie of the Year race with a .288/.348/.576 slash line, 19 home runs, 17 doubles and 43 RBI in 67 games.

Urena, on the other hand, has had a rough 2018 campaign. The 26-year-old right-hander entered the game with a 3-12 record, a 4.74 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 24 starts. He had lost each of his two previous starts in August, allowing 10 runs in 10.1 innings of work.

While hitting a red-hot batter with a 97 mph heater on the first pitch of a ballgame certainly is suspicious, Urena does rank in the top-10 in the majors with 10 hit batsmen this season. Major League Baseball will undoubtedly review this incident, though.

If Acuna misses time due to the injury, it would be a big blow to the Braves, who hold a two-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East at 67-51. The Marlins, meanwhile, are 21 games back in last place at 48-74.

Wednesday marks the final game of this four-game series, with Atlanta taking each of the first three contests. The two NL East rivals will meet once more this season, Aug. 23-26 in Miami.

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