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Acuña fends off fans, ties career highs with 4 hits and 5 RBIs in Braves’ 14-4 rout of Rockies

Field guards haul away one of two fans who approached Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) before the bottom of the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

 Field guards haul away one of two fans who approached Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) before the bottom of the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BY DENNIS GEORGATOS contributing

DENVER (AP) —

Ronald Acuña Jr. fended off two fans, including one who made contact with him in right field, while sparking the Atlanta Braves to a 14-4 rout of the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

Acuña tied career highs with four hits and five RBIs, hitting his 29th home run and stealing two bases to increase his major league-leading total to 61. He is one homer shy of becoming the first 30/60 player.

One fan got his arms against Acuña during the middle of the seventh inning, just after Atlanta scored four runs to open a 9-4 lead. Two security people quickly grabbed the fan and, as they tried to drag him away, a third security person approached.

OTHER NEWS

Field guards hold onto a fan as he tries to reach Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., right, while second baseman Ozzie Albies (1) looks on in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Fans run onto field and one makes contact with Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr.

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez reacts after center fielder Cedric Mullins made a catch on a ball hit by Chicago White Sox's Yoan Moncada during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Acuña fends off fans and gets 4 hits and 5 RBIs as Braves rout Rockies 14-4

Atlanta Braves' Ozzie Albies scores after New York Mets' Tim Locastro was charged with a fielding error during the eighth inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Slugging 2B Ozzie Albies activated from injured list by MLB-leading Braves

A second fan then sprinted toward the group, knocking down Acuña, and that fan was tackled as one of the security people chased him down.

Acuña wasn’t injured and remained in the game.

“I was a little scared at first,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “I think the fans were out there and asking for pictures. I really couldn’t say anything because at that point, security was already there and we were already kind of tangled up, but security was able to get there and everything’s OK. We’re all OK and I hope they’re OK.”

Teammate Kevin Pillar expressed relief Acuña wasn’t hurt.

“Thankfully, they weren’t there to do any harm, but you just never know during those situations,” said Pillar, who was among the teammates and coaches who rushed to Acuña’s defense. “They were extreme fans and wanted to get a picture, put their hands on him. But in no way is it appropriate for people to leave the stands, even more to put their hands on someone else.”

Major league-best Atlanta (85-45) had 18 hits. The Braves have won four of five and 10 of 13.

Colorado (49-82) was assured its fifth consecutive losing season.

Acuña became the fourth player 25 or more homers and 60 or more steals, joining Hall of Famers Joe Morgan (1973, ’76) and Rickey Henderson (1986, ’90) along with Eric Davis (1986).

Acuña, who leads the major leagues with 119 runs, scored on Austin Riley’s third-inning homer against Austin Gomber and hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Karl Kaufmann (1-4).

Acuña singled leading off the seventh and stole second off Evan Justice, getting a huge jump and sliding into second as Justice threw vainly to first. He scored on a single by Riley, who had three RBIs.

Acuña singled in the eighth and stole second off Tommy Doyle without a throw.

“He’s a special, special player, a gifted young man,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Anything he’s going to do in this game is not going to surprise me. I just think he’s that talented.”

Pillar put the Braves in front to stay at 5-4 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, then robbed Nolan Jones of extra bases in the bottom half with a spectacular diving catch in left.

Sean Murphy doubled three times and drove in a run for the Braves, who have won six in a row at Coors Field.

Ryan McMahon homered for the Rockies, who fell to 0-5 this season against the Braves.

“They’ve got a good ballclub, no doubt,” McMahon said. “They’ve got some really special players over there.”

Braves All Star second baseman Ozzie Albies went 0 for 4 in his return from the injured list after missing 12 games due to a strained left hamstring.

Bryce Elder (11-4) won his third straight decision, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings.

Gomber’s velocity was down about 3 mph on all his pitchers and left with back soreness after giving up a triple to Matt Olson with two outs in the third. Gomber said he hopes to take his next turn in the rotation.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: RHP Darius Vines was recalled from Gwinnett. Lefty Jared Shuster was optioned to the Triple-A team along with infielder Vaughn Grissom, who had started a handful of games at second in Albies’ absence.

Rockies: 2B Brendan Rodgers was a late scratch from the lineup because of illness. … INF-OF Kris Bryant was scheduled to have an X-ray of his fractured left index finger to determine if it has healed to the point where he can intensify his rehab efforts in hopes of returning this season. He has been sidelined since July 22. … RHP Ryan Feltner was set to take the next step in his recovery from a fractured skull and concussion. Feltner, who was injured May 13 when he was struck in the head by a comebacker, was headed to the High-A Spokane Indians. He’s scheduled to make a pitching appearance Wednesday, his first in a game since the injury.

UP NEXT

Atlanta RHP Charlie Morton (13-10, 3.37 ERA) is slated to start Tuesday night against RHP Peter Lambert (3-4, 4.92 ERA).