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Acuña blasts Dodgers with hardest-hit ball in ’23

LOS ANGELES — Ronald Acuña Jr. homered for the third straight night at Dodger Stadium, and Orlando Arcia hit a three-run shot in the 10th inning that sent the streaking Atlanta Braves to a 4-2 victory over L.A. on Saturday.

Acuña’s 454-foot drive to center field came off his bat like a rocket at an astounding 121.2 mph — the hardest-hit ball in the majors this year.

“I never imagined that was going to be the exit velocity on it,” Acuña said through an interpreter. “But yeah, I hit it hard.”

Bryce Elder pitched six effective innings, and the Braves (90-45) won their sixth consecutive game, becoming the first major league club to reach 90 wins this season.

Atlanta will try for a four-game sweep on Sunday in this much-anticipated matchup between the top two teams in the National League.

Married north of Los Angeles before Thursday’s game, Acuña once again outshined Dodgers star Mookie Betts in their chase for NL MVP.

With one out in the third inning, Acuña launched a jaw-dropping drive that gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead. It was the 32nd homer this year and third of the series (including a grand slam) for Acuña, the first player in big league history with 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a season.

It was also the third-hardest-hit homer and sixth-hardest-hit ball in the majors since Statcast began tracking in 2015.

Acuña’s teammates joked with him in the dugout about his power.

“They asked if that was all I had, and I said, ‘I think so,'” Acuña said.

Los Angeles tied it at 1-all in the bottom half of the third when Austin Barnes doubled on his bobblehead night and scored on Will Smith’s double-play grounder.

That’s how it stayed until the 10th, when Sean Murphy drew a two-out walk from Alex Vesia (0-5) to put two runners on. Arcia drove the next pitch to left-center to give Atlanta a 4-1 lead.

“I feel I always go out here and every at-bat, focus. And in those situations, do everything I can to help the team win,” Arcia said through an interpreter.

When asked what he thought of Acuña’s homer, no translation was needed.

“Unbelievable,” Arcia said.

Raisel Iglesias allowed Max Muncy’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half before finishing for his 28th save. Michael Tonkin (6-2) worked a hitless inning for the win.

“You can’t take too much out of it,” Muncy said. “If we face them in the postseason, it’s going to be completely different games. I think we’ve proven that in the past several times against teams we’ve played. It’s an exciting series right now. I know it’s a lot of fun for people to watch it, but at the end of the day, it’s not going to be the same if it’s in the playoffs.”

Betts went 0-for-4 with a walk and scored once. He struck out three times, including with the bases loaded in the fourth when he went down looking.

Los Angeles starter Emmet Sheehan permitted one run in four innings.

Elder worked around four walks and struck out four for the Braves, who have won 20 of 25 overall. The NL East leaders have a seven-game lead over the NL West-leading Dodgers (83-52) for the best record in the league.

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