In a full season of firsts for Ronald Acuña Jr., the 19-year-old prodigy continued his breakout campaign with another one.For the first time in his Minor League career, Atlanta's top prospect homered for the third straight game in Triple-A Gwinnett's 5-4 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday night at PNC Field. Acuna
In a full season of firsts for Ronald Acuña Jr., the 19-year-old prodigy continued his breakout campaign with another one.
For the first time in his Minor League career, Atlanta's top prospect homered for the third straight game in Triple-A Gwinnett's 5-4 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday night at PNC Field. Acuna has gone yard in four of his last five contests.
The native of Venezuela wasted no time, taking the first pitch from right-hander Brady Lail deep to left field for his eighth homer in 34 games with the G-Braves and 20th across three levels in 2017. The leadoff blast also was the second for MLB.com's No. 8 overall prospect since being promoted to Triple-A. On July 29 he lofted the other against Syracuse in his first game after replacing second-ranked Braves prospect Ozzie Albies atop Gwinnett's order.
Gameday box score
The 6-foot, 180-pound outfielder grounded out to second base in his second at-bat before striking out in his final two trips to the plate. Despite his propensity for whiffs (126 in 119 games this season), Acuna is the fifth Minor Leaguer to reach the 20-homer/20-steal plateau, along with Phillies No. 3 prospectScott Kingery, Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres No. 4), Monte Harrison (Brewers No. 14) and top Astros prospect Kyle Tucker.
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Acuna wasn't the only member of the G-Braves to go yard. Atlanta's No. 21 prospect Rio Ruiz blasted two solo long balls off Lail. Ruiz's first roundtripper gave Gwinnett a 2-0 lead after the opening inning and his 13th of the season extended the edge to 3-1 in the fourth.
The two-homer game was Ruiz's second of the season. He also lofted two July 9 against Indianapolis, four days after he set a season high with five RBIs against Norfolk.
Lail (6-4) allowed four runs on six hits without a walk and six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Gwinnett starter Aaron Blair (7-7) was tagged for five runs on nine hits and two walks through five frames.
Ji-Man Choi's go-ahead, two-run double in the fifth proved to be the decisive blow off Blair. Choi was one of five RailRiders with two hits, including Yankees No. 20 prospectJake Cave, who belted his 14th homer.
Chris Tripodi is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @christripodi.