Atlanta Braves center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is coming under fire for failing to run out a hard-hit ball in game one of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the seventh inning, Acuna ripped the ball down the right-field line and he thought it was a home run.
Instead of running hard out of the box, the young superstar watched the ball, which ended up bouncing off the wall. Instead of being at second base with a double, he was forced to stay at first base after Cardinals right fielder Dexter Fowler played the carom off the wall and quickly fired it back to the infield.
The mistake ended up costing the Braves, who would lose the first game of the best-of-five series by a score of 7-6. The next batter, Ozzie Albies, grounded out, but if Acuna were on second, he would have gone to third base and likely scored in the inning.
"He probably scores in that inning if he's on second base," Albies said. "It's a big deal. He knows he needs to do better there."
Other players voiced their frustration with Acuna, who was benched in August for making the same mistake.
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "But I think you have that conversation once. It's kind of beating a dead horse after that if you keep having the same conversation over and over again. You have to know that was a mistake."
Braves manager Brian Snitker suggested that if the circumstances were different, he might have pulled Acuna out of the game.
"He should have been on second," he said. "And we're kind of shorthanded to do anything about it right there. You hate to see that happen."
Acuna admitted he should have made it to second base on the play.
"Things happen. Stuff like this doesn't happen to the one who is sitting on the bench," Acuna told ESPN's Enrique Rojas. "It could have been a double, but things happen. I didn't speak with the manager about it. I just went out to enjoy the game. I always try to give my best, but these are things that sometimes get away from me. They are not things I want to do. As players, we always try to give our best effort, but we make mistakes, we are human."
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