1 of 5 | Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. recorded two stolen bases in a win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in Atlanta. File Photo by Anthony Stalcup/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. yanked second base from the dirt and hoisted it over his head, prompting cheers after becoming the first player in MLB history to record 70 steals and 40 home runs in the same season.
Acuna recorded his 70th steal in the bottom of the 10th inning of the 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in Atlanta. The Braves also secured the top playoff seed in the National League with the victory at Truist Park.
"It was one of those numbers that wasn't impossible, but seemed impossible," the National League MVP frontrunner told reporters. "Thankfully, we were able to get it done."
The Braves trailed 5-4 entering the bottom of the 10th. Kevin Pillar started the half inning on second base. Shortstop Orland Arcia grounded out in the first at-bat.
Acuna then stepped to the plate and hit a 1-2 slider to right field for a game-tying single. Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies then stepped into the box for the third exchange of the final inning.
Acuna bolted for second base on the first pitch issued from relief pitcher Daniel Palencia. The Braves star used his left hand to tap the base as he slid in safely. He then pulled the base out of the infield soil and lifted it up with his right hand, before he gave it to a Braves staff member, who took it into the dugout.
Acuna came in to score the game's winning run on the next pitch, which Albies sent to right field for an RBI single.
The Braves star went 2 for 5 with two runs scored, two steals and an RBI in the victory. He is hitting .336 with 41 home runs and 104 RBIs, in addition to his league-leading steal total. Acuna also leads MLB with a .414 on-base percentage, 378 total bases, 213 hits and 146 runs scored.
Barry Bonds and Eric Davis are the only other players in MLB history to record at least 30 home runs and 50 steals in the same season. Bonds hit 33 homers and recorded 52 steals in 1990 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Davis recorded 37 homers and 50 steals in 1987 for the Cincinnati Reds.
Bonds, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco are the only other MLB players to record at least 40 home runs and 40 steals in the same season.
Albies went 2 for 5 with a home run and two runs scored in Wednesday's win. Designated hitter Marcel Ozuna went 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs. Braves starter Darius Vines allowed four hits and three runs over six innings, but was not on record for a decision.
The Braves (102-56) will host the Cubs (82-76) in the series finale at 7:20 p.m. EDT Thursday at Truist Park.