“I was just trying to time it as the ball was hit,” Acuña said through a translator after the Braves’ 10-8 loss to the New York Mets. “I was trying to line it up as the ball went further and further back, and finally I got to the wall, jumped, and was able to catch it.”
The catch was actually much, much more difficult than Acuña presented it to be, and figures to be featured prominently in his highlights for the rest of the season.
“Oh my God,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the catch.
The Braves trailed, 8-2, entering the sixth when Davis hit a long drive to left that seemed destined to cross the 385 marker in left field here at SunTrust Park.
Acuña tracked the ball to the wall and settled in before planting his feet and leaping into the air, extending his glove above the wall.
The ball landed in Acuña’s glove as a Knicks fan wearing a throwback Walt “Clyde” Frazier jersey watched from mere feet away.
The outfielder then slumped to the ground, and decided to have some fun by not immediately revealing that he had had actually robbed Davis of a homer.
The 21-year-old said he pulled out that trick several times in the minors, and waited for his chance to do so in the majors.
Acuña eventually showcased the ball and fired in, and Davis waved off Acuña in disbelief before smiling, knowing he had been victimized.
“I tried to keep everyone in suspense a little bit,” Acuña said through a translator. “I knew I caught it. I was holding onto it a little longer before I threw it in.”
Braves pitcher Josh Tomlin was among those waiting to see if the ball had landed in Acuña’s glove although he had an inkling the youngster had come down with it.
“He’s earned that right to sit and marvel at what he did,” Tomlin joked.
This play marked yet another breathtaking moment for one of baseball’s premier talents. Acuña tallied his 35th homer Thursday with a two-run blast in the ninth inning, and will join the 30-30 club with two more steals.
Braves coaches have raved about how Acuña has improved across the board, including defensively since right field is his best position.
“I talked to him today, we might be moving you around a little bit for the team’s sake,” Snitker said of the MVP candidate. “I said, ‘you can help us win games no matter where you’re are in the outfield.’ He’s improved so much at all positions and is an above average player at all three of them. Great play.”
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