Ronald Acuña Jr. gets bat-flipping revenge in feud with Marlins pitcher

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

After nine months of hit batters and hard feelings between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins, Ronald Acuña Jr. may have finally gotten the final word Friday.

The Braves’ 21-year-old outfielder crushed an opposite-field solo home run against Marlins starter José Ureña, and then launched an epic bat flip — or perhaps toss is more accurate — that seemed to symbolize revenge was finally his.

The at-bat was extra significant, because it was a previous Acuña-Ureña matchup that ignited the feud.

On Aug. 15, 2018, Ureña drilled Acuña on the left elbow with a 97 MPH fastball on his first pitch of the game. The plunking came on the heels of Acuña leading off each of the first three games in that series with a home run.

As a result of the pitch, the benches cleared and Ureña was suspended six games.

It didn’t end there though. The feud spilled over into the 2019 season, when Braves hurler Kevin Gausman fired a pitch behind Ureña during a game on May 3.

Gausman had previously suggested he might seek revenge. As such, he was immediately ejected, followed by a fine and a five-game suspension.

Acuña went 1-for-3 in an early-season matchup with Ureña. There was no apparent animosity between them then, but Acuña’s home run and bat flip seemed to tell a different story during Friday’s game.

Though according to Acuña, he was just playing with the same passion he brings to the ballpark for every game.

Acuña entered Friday’s game with impressive overall numbers against the Marlins. In 24 career games, he was hitting .333/.411/.645 with eight homers. However, he had traditionally struggled with Ureña, entering with two hits and four strikeouts in 13 plate appearances.

He snapped that funk in Friday’s game. In addition to the home run, Acuña also delivered a run-scoring single against the Marlins right-hander. He finished the Braves’ 7-1 victory with three hits and three runs batted in.

So perhaps the bat flip was the letting loose of all frustrations against Ureña.

Whatever the case, here’s hoping this long-standing feud is finally settled.

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