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Ronald Acuña Jr. on the verge of becoming majors’ first 40-60 player

Ronald Acuña Jr. rounds the base after hitting his 39th home run of the season Tuesday, putting him on the verge of becoming MLB's first 40-60 player.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Ronald Acuña Jr. homered twice on his bobblehead night and stole his 67th base, leaving him one long ball shy of becoming Major League Baseball’s first 40-60 player, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-3, on Tuesday night to stop a four-game losing streak.

Spencer Strider (18-5) increased his major league-leading wins total and struck out 11 to increase his big league-high total 270 with his 17th career double-digit strikeout game, his 11th this season.

Acuña homered on the first pitch of the game from Cristopher Sánchez (2-5) and had another solo homer off Yunior Marte in the sixth. Acuña has a team-record 33 leadoff homers, including seven this season — three on the first pitch. Of his 205 hits this season, 51 have come in the first inning.


No player has ever had 40 homers and 60 steals in a season, much less 70 stolen bases. Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” after Acuña singled off Michael Lorenzen in the fifth and stole second.

NL East champion Atlanta avoided what would have been its first five-game skid since September, 2017. Marcell Ozuna drove in three runs with three hits, including a two-run double in the fifth, as the Braves outhit the Phillies 13-4.

Philadelphia, while second in the NL East, leads the NL wild-card race.

Twins get closer to title

Willi Castro hit a two-run homer and made two spectacular catches, Kenta Maeda combined on a four-hitter and the Minnesota Twins beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-0 on Tuesday night in another step toward their third AL Central title in five seasons.

Ryan Jeffers added a solo homer for Minnesota (80-72), which opened an eight-game lead over second-place Cleveland with 10 games remaining.

Cincinnati (79-74), shut out for the 10th time, remained out of the NL’s three wild-card berths.

Ohtani should hit on Opening Day

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani had elbow surgery Tuesday, and his doctor, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, said he expects the two-way star will be available as a hitter on Opening Day next season and will return to the mound as a pitcher in 2025.


Ohtani tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23, ending his pitching season. He continued as a batter through Sept. 3 until an oblique strain.

“I had a procedure done on my elbow earlier this morning and everything went very well,” Ohtani said in a post on Instagram. “Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers and kind words. It was very unfortunate that I couldn’t finish out the year on the field, but I will be rooting on the boys until the end. I will work as hard as I can and do my best to come back on the diamond stronger than ever.”

The 29-year-old Ohtani leads the AL with 44 homers and has 96 RBIs, eight triples and 20 stolen bases. He was 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts, striking out 167 and walking 55 in 132 innings.

Ohtani is eligible for free agency after the World Series. Before the elbow injury, there was speculation he would get a record contract of $500 million or more.

The Angels received a boost when injured star Mike Trout has accompanied the team on its last road trip of the season and took dry swings before Tuesday’s 6-2 loss at Tampa. The Rays got a tiebreaking two-run double from Osleivis Basabe in a four-run eighth inning.


The three-time AL MVP has played just one game since fracturing the hamate bone in his left hand July 3. The center fielder returned Aug. 22 but was shut down the next day because of discomfort.

Marlins move for Moore

The Miami Marlins claimed lefthanded reliever Matt Moore off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians to solidify their bullpen for the last 10 days of the regular season.

“He gets lefties and righties out, which is nice,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said before Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Mets. “He’s been there before — back-end piece. Just a guy that you want out there in a big leverage-type situation.”

Miami’s bullpen has a 4.19 ERA, 18th among the 30 teams. The Marlins improved to 79-73 after Jake Burger’s walk-off single in the ninth inning and remain in contention for a wild-card berth.

The 34-year-old is 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 46 appearances with the Angels and Guardians this season.

Pitchers shut down

The Mets confirmed that injured star closer Edwin Díaz will not rejoin the club this season. The club confirmed that Díaz will continue rehabilitating his right knee with a targeted return of next spring training . . . The Royals are shutting down Brady Singer for the remainder of the season after the righthander complained of back pain following his shaky outing against Cleveland. Kansas City put righthander Brad Keller, also expected to be a big part of the rotation, back on the injured list after symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome returned . . . The sliding Cubs placed infielder Nick Madrigal on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Sept. 17 with a right hamstring strain. He missed most of July with a similar injury . . . Tigers outfielder Riley Greene, who throws lefthanded, will have surgery on his right elbow Wednesday. The fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft was injured while making a diving catch on Sept. 1. . . Giants righthander Alex Cobb left Tuesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks in the third inning after apparently aggravating a left hip injury that’s been bothering him since mid-June.