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Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. hit in first inning by Marlins’ Jose Urena, igniting brawl

Ronald Acuna Jr.’s chance to extend his three-game streak of leadoff homers was put on hold when the Marlins’ Jose Urena hit him with his first pitch on Wednesday night, triggering a melee that led to benches and bullpens for Atlanta and Miami emptying twice.

Urena and Braves manager Brian Snitker were ejected. Snitker had angry words for the pitcher as he led the first exodus from Atlanta’s dugout toward the mound.

Urena’s fastball hit Acuna’s left elbow, leaving Acuna in obvious pain. Trainer George Poulis attended to Acuna, who sat on the ground near the batter’s box while players swarmed near the mound.

Order appeared to be restored until Acuna walked near the mound on his path to first base, took off a shin guard and tossed it to the edge of the mound. That led to players again spilling out of both dugouts and bullpens. No punches were thrown.

Snitker was ejected by third-base umpire Paul Nauert, the crew chief. After the melee calmed down, the umpires huddled and then home plate umpire Chad Fairchild ejected Urena and warned both benches. That led to a protest from Marlins manager Don Mattingly.

Following a long delay to allow righthander Elieser Hernandez, who replaced Urena, to throw his warm-up pitches, Acuna remained in the game to run the bases.

But Acuna’s stay was short-lived. He left in the top of the second, walking off the field after taking his position in leftfield. There was no immediate word on his possible injury.

Because he was forced from the game after being hit by the pitch in his only plate appearance, Acuna will be eligible to continue his streak of leadoff homers in his next game.

Urena has a history of control problems. Entering the game, he was tied for second in the National League with 10 hit batters. He tied for the major league lead with 14 hit batters in 2017.

Cubs 8, Brewers 4: Anthony Rizzo homered, drove in three runs and stole two bases in his return to the cleanup spot, and host Chicago strengthened its hold on the NL Central.

The Cubs bounced back nicely from their 7-0 loss in the opener of the two-game series, improving to 9-4 against the Brewers this year. But they have six more games left in the season series and St. Louis is gaining quickly, so Rizzo and company coolly packed up their three-game advantage over the second-place Brewers and got ready for a six-game trip.

It’s just about the numbers in the middle of August.

“I think early on we knew it was going to come down to the wire,” Rizzo said, “so I don’t see us or any team pulling away like crazy. Winning games versus our division is always big, and this one was nice.”

Jason Heyward added three hits and two RBIs as Chicago moved 19 games over .500, matching its season high. David Bote had two hits, scored twice and made a terrific barehanded play at third base in his first action since he hit a game-ending grand slam in Sunday night’s 4-3 victory over Washington.

Kyle Hendricks (9-9) struck out eight in six-plus innings on his bobblehead day, providing a lift for the Cubs after Jon Lester and Jose Quintana struggled in recent starts.

Mariners 2, A’s 0: Dee Gordon homered off Yusmeiro Petit to break a scoreless tie, and visiting Seattle avoided a three-game sweep.

Jean Segura had four hits to help the Mariners close within 2 1⁄4 games of Oakland for the second AL wild-card spot.

White Sox 6, Tigers 5: Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson each hit two-run home runs, and drove in five runs for visiting Chicago.

Twins 6, Pirates 4: Logan Forsythe had three RBIs, and host Minnesota’s bullpen tossed 5 1⁄3 shutout innings.

In 13 games with the Twins, Forsythe is hitting .386 with six multihit games. He had eight in 70 games this season with the Dodgers.

Oliver Drake, Gabriel Moya (3-0), Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers allowed five hits and struck out three before Trevor Hildenberger picked up his third save.

Pittsburgh starter Chris Archer retired 10 straight batters before giving up back-to-back singles, including an RBI by Jorge Polanco, to start the sixth, ending his day.

Acquired from Tampa Bay on July 31, Archer allowed four earned runs and six hits in five innings. In his first three starts with the Pirates, Archer has allowed nine earned runs in 14 1⁄3 innings.

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Trout’s brother-in-law dies

Aaron Cox, a former Los Angeles Angels pitching prospect and the brother-in-law of Mike Trout, has died. He was 24.

The Angels disclosed no further details Wednesday in a statement issued on behalf of Trout and his wife, Jessica Cox.

“Aaron Cox was a tremendous son, brother, and brother-in-law,” the Cox and Trout families said in a statement. “He had a deep love for his family, and a passionate dedication and commitment to his friends. As our families grieve together, we will also celebrate the memories, the laughter, and the love we each shared with Aaron in the short time we had him.”

Cox was a 19th-round draft pick by the Angels in 2015. He attended Millville High School in New Jersey and Gannon University.

Cox spent parts of three seasons in the Angels’ system, including 11 games this season with Class-A Inland Empire. He retired from baseball earlier this summer . . . The Seattle Mariners have placed ace James Paxton on the disabled list with a forearm bruise, one day after the lefthander was struck by a line drive.

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