The Braves defeated the Reds 3-1 on Wednesday behind Mike Soroka and a collection of Atlanta relievers, who bounced back from their uninspiring performance on on Tuesday. The offense was largely held quiet, but the Braves staff held the Reds down aside from a single first inning run against Soroka.
The Braves jumped out to a lead early. Really early, in fact, as leadoff man Ozzie Albies hit a home run on the very first pitch of the game to put Atlanta ahead 1-0. The hope for the Braves was that such a promising start would jumpstart a sound performance from the offense, but that proved to be one of only a couple highlights from the visiting team, but more on that in a moment.
In the bottom half of the first inning, Joey Votto worked a leadoff walk, which was followed by consecutive singles from Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker, the second of which drove home Votto to tie the score at 1-1. Mike Soroka settled in following that early barrage, escaping the jam to limit the damage.
The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Nick Markakis lines a single to right field, which was misplayed by Yasiel Puig, allowing Ronald Acuña, Jr. to score from first and Markakis to reach third with one out. Dansby Swanson and Brian McCann were unable to plate Markakis, but the Braves ended the frame with a lead nonetheless.
Both teams would go quietly on offense until the ninth inning, when Ozzie Albies worked a leadoff walk, then was brought home by Donaldson immediately afterwards. This pushed the Atlanta lead to 3-1, which provided the Braves bullpen some insurance entering the bottom of the ninth.
AJ Minter got the ball in the ninth inning for the Braves, and promptly worked a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. This was a rousing effort from the Atlanta bulllen, which worked 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings, as Josh Tomlin, Luke Jackson, Daniel Winkler, and Minter were excellent.
In many ways, this start mirrored the first Soroka start of the season, which came last Thursday against Arizona. The right-hander ran into similar trouble in the first inning, only to wiggle out of it and hold the opposition scoreless for the remainder of his outing. This start saw Soroka work 5 2⁄3 innings with just the one run allowed, allowing five hits while striking out seven.
This was an important win for the Braves, who suffered a tough-luck loss a night earlier. The Braves go to 12-11 on the season, with one game remaining in Cincinnati before returning home this weekend.