ATLANTA — Ozzie Albies is feeling much better about his team's lineup lately. Of course, helping the Atlanta Braves hit a combined 10 homers in back-to-back lopsided wins undoubtedly improved the 24-year-old second baseman's mood.
Albies hit home runs from both sides of the plate, and Ronald Acuña Jr. led off with his MLB-best 15th homer of the season as the Braves again showed off their power game and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Saturday.
The Braves' three homers on Saturday followed a seven-homer attack, including blasts by Albies and Acuña, in a 20-1 rout of the Pirates on Friday night. That performance included grand slams by Acuña and pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza.
"It's started clicking," Albies said. "It looks better and feels better, and for the team it's huge, a different type game that we're playing. We hope to keep it going."
Acuña didn't wait to keep the offense rolling. With fans in the sellout crowd of 40,068 still arriving at Truist Park, Acuña pulled Mitch Keller's first-pitch fastball over the wall in left field in the bottom of the first inning.
"Special," Albies said of the 23-year-old outfielder's slugging prowess. "It's him. He tells you he's going deep. (Keller) throws the first pitch in the zone, and he does it."
Acuña hustled out of the box — there was no certainty the line drive was going to clear the fence — then slowed down for his home run trot. It was his 22nd career leadoff shot, extending his franchise record, including three this season.
The Braves lead Major League Baseball with 75 homers. The all-or-nothing approach hasn't always worked — the three-time reigning National League East Division champions are just 22-24 — but Atlanta's batters have connected in consecutive win over the Pirates.
"The Braves are red hot," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "They hit home runs. They lead the league in home runs, and they've got the guy leading the league in homers."
Albies added a two-run shot in the fifth as a left-handed hitter. He hit another homer, his ninth of 2021, from the right side off Sam Howard in the seventh. It marked the 14th time in Braves history a player homered from both sides of the plate in a single game, and Albies is responsible for two of those performances.
Atlanta's Bryse Wilson (2-2) allowed one run — a homer by Michael Pérez in the third — on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, the longest start of his career. He was lifted after giving up singles to Will Craig and Wilmer Difo, and A.J. Minter struck out Pérez to end the seventh.
Braves right-hander Luke Jackson walked Will Craig to open the ninth and gave up a one-out single to Wilmer Difo before pinch-hitter Ildemaro Vargas grounded out to end the game.
Wilson, 23, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett for his fifth start of the season. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker has been impressed by Wilson's mature approach to remaining positive when he has been sent back to Gwinnett.
"You've got to be pretty mentally strong," Snitker said. "He just keeps fighting the fight."
Keller (2-6) gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings.
"I think it just comes down to two or three pitches that I missed and they took advantage of it," Keller said.
Said Shelton: "I thought he executed some pitches, but you have to execute a lot of pitches to this group. He left pitches in the middle, and they got hit out of the ballpark."
After the game, Atlanta acquired right-hander Yoan López from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league outfielder Deivi Estrada. López, who was optioned to Gwinnett, had a 6.57 ERA in 13 games with Arizona this season. He has a 4.25 career ERA in four seasons, all with the Diamondbacks.