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'MVP! MVP!' Braves' Ronald Acuña making case with another sensational show

Outfielder has nine home runs in 12 games this month.

Ronald Acuña Jr. heard chants of "MVP! MVP! MVP!" as he trotted off the field in the sixth inning, tipping his cap to the crowd when he reached the dugout.

Maybe the Atlanta fans are on to something.

It was another dazzling all-around night for the 21-year-old phenom, who scored his 100th run after smashing one off the wall, hit another one into the seats, and showed off his dazzling arm with a bullet of a throw to the plate.

Acuña's heroics carried Max Fried to his fifth straight win, leading the Braves past the New York Mets 5-3 on a sweltering Tuesday night.

"It's kind of normal for me now," Fried said. "He's a tremendous player and he plays hard every night."

With Atlanta under a heat alert and the temperature at 94 degrees for the first pitch, the Braves cooled down a New York team that had won 15 of its last 17 games to surge into playoff contention.

Acuña sparked a two-run first against Zack Wheeler by leading off with a long single off the wall in right-center, coming around to score his 100th run of the season on Josh Donaldson's single. In the fourth, the youngster lined a 409-foot drive into the left-field seats for his 34th homer.

He wasn't done, either. Acuña ended the sixth by scooping up a single to left by Juan Lagares and rifling a one-hop throw to the plate to get Todd Frazier trying to score from second.

"His arm is a weapon," manager Brian Snitker said.

With the win, Atlanta maintained a six-game lead over Washington in the NL East, while the Mets dropped nine games back.

Rookie slugger Austin Riley, meanwhile, will not need surgery on his injured right knee and expects to return to the Braves' lineup in about two weeks. 

The outlook is not as promising for Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, though, who continues to rehab a bruised right foot that already has kept him out far longer than expected. 

He went on the IL retroactive to July 24 and still is not sure when he'll be able to return.


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