Atlanta’s offense was largely dormant for most of this game as they couldn’t figure out Matt Harvey. Meanwhile, the Reds used some timely hitting and some solid defense to down the Braves and tie the series going into tomorrow’s rubber game.
The first three innings of the game came-and-went without much incident, then the fourth inning came along and things started to get interesting. Unfortunately, the Reds were the team who made things interesting as they kicked off the scoring. Anibal Sanchez walked Scooter Gennett with one out and Scooter proceeded to steal second base. He made it home after Ozzie Albies made a diving catch to stop a grounder that had rolled into shallow right field but the throw went awry. Jesse Winker probably would have beaten the throw to first anyways, so it was ruled an infield single and the Reds were up 1-0.
The scoring stopped there for Cincinnati but Atlanta responded in the very next frame. Ozzie made it to first after taking a pitch to the foot and then Ozzie assuaged any concerns about injury by going from first-to-third on a single from Freddie Freeman. It’s too bad that he ended up getting wiped off of the basepaths via rundown when Nick Markakis hit a chopper to Matt Harvey. The Braves wouldn’t leave this frame empty-handed though, as Tyler Flower came inches away from hitting a three-run dinger. Instead he hit a double that bounced off the base of the wall and was enough to bring home Freeman. After that, Harvey got the next two outs with no problems and we went into the fifth with the game still tied.
The Reds weren’t done scoring, though. Our old friend Jose Pereza led off the fifth with a triple and was brought home via double from Scott Schebler. Anibal Sanchez was one out away from making it out of the fifth but his leg cramped up on him so he was forced to exit the game. Matt Wisler entered and retired Joey Votto to exit the frame with it still 2-1.
Wisler didn’t get out of this outing unscathed, though. Scooter Gennett led off the sixth with a double and then he was cashed in with a two-out single from Adam Duvall to make it 3-1. While this was going on, Matt Harvey was busy holding the Braves at bay while throwing nearly seven innings with only one run allowed. Simply put, the third time seeing the Braves (and a new uniform) ended up being the charm for Harvey.
Atlanta’s offense finally put up a number other than “1” on the scoreboard with a couple of runs but they weren’t exactly the most cost-effective runs when it came to outs. Inciarte and Albies both reached base and were on second and third base to start off the frame. Two consecutive groundouts brought in both runners but again, the key word there is “groundouts” since the Braves were down to four outs at that point but were still two runs richer.
Tyler Flowers hit a single and Charlie Culberson walked to put another pair of runners on base but Johan Camargo hit a fly ball to right field to end the inning. It’s real unfortunate that they couldn’t do much else with the runners they had in the eighth because Cincinnati scored again in the ninth. Shane Carle picked up the first two outs of the ninth easily but by the time Cincinnati had scored their fifth run of the game, Carle was on 40 pitches and clearly starting to show a bit of exhaustion. He was able to restrict them to just that one run, which meant that the deficit was two for the Braves going into the final inning.
Atlanta had an encouraging start to the bottom of the ninth when Dansby Swanson made it on with a single but Ryan Flaherty immediately grounded to first base to wipe himself out and then Dansby was wiped out via rundown. That double play basically ended the rally before it started and the Braves ended up losing 5-3.
The good news is that we all just get to sleep off this game and forget about it because the next game starts in about 12-and-a-half hours from now. Hopefully the matinee will bring about a better result from the Braves.