Luis Castillo added another strong start to what’s been a great start to the season for him. Unfortunately for us Braves fans, that means that the Braves couldn’t figure him or Cincinnati’s bullpen out and Atlanta ended up losing 4-2.
The most positive development from this game was probably that Julio Teheran avoided another horrible start at the Great American Ball Park. He breezed through the first two innings without giving up a hit. However, in true Julio fashion, there was still a good amount of adventuring that he had to do in order to acquire a Quality Start for the night.
Part of that adventure included giving up his first hit of the game to Luis Castillo, the pitcher. That hit ended up proving costly as Eugenio Suarez poked one out to left field to bring home Castillo following a walk to Joey Votto. Fortunately, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Dansby Swanson were able to get the ball to second base in order to get Suarez out at second to end the inning right then and there.
Cincinnati didn’t stop scoring, though they came pretty close to whiffing on their scoring chance. In the fifth inning, Julio Teheran found himself in another jam as he was in a situation with runners on the corners. However, there were two outs and he was one strike away from getting out of it with the game still 1-0. Eugenio Suarez once again hit the Braves where it hurt, as he drove a 90-mph fastball from Julio to the fence in left field. Two runs scored on the double and instead of having only one run to deal with, the Braves found themselves in a three-run hole.
The top of the seventh inning proved to be a pivotal one. Without warning, Luis Castillo suddenly stopped cruising and the Braves worked their way into a bases-loaded situation with nobody out. Ronald Acuña, Brian McCann and Johan Camargo each hit singles one after the other and that was the end of the night for Castillo. Even though Castillo gave up 8 hits and only had two strikeouts, the Braves never really had him under any sort of real pressure until they ran him from the game.
Still, the Reds are one of the few teams in baseball who can count their bullpen as a strength and David Hernandez showed why the Reds don’t have to get nervous once their relief pitchers get involved. Hernandez struck out Josh Donaldson and Freddie Freeman in his appearance on Tuesday and on Thursday, he picked up exactly where he left off. Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and a pinch-hitting Ozzie Albies all went down on strikes and the Braves utterly squandered what was easily their best scoring chance of the night at that point.
That was also where the game stopped for a considerable amount of time. Instead of calling the game right there, both teams had to wait out a rain delay that was around two hours and 40 minutes. The Braves finally found some runs coming out of the rain delay, as Freddie Freeman hit a two-run shot to put the Braves on the board and make this a really close one.
Wes Parsons threw two innings of relief coming off of the rain delay. He also walked three batters and found himself in some trouble with just one out. However, the Braves were able to get a double play with a fly ball to Ender and Freddie Freeman cutting off the ball to home plate in order to get Jesse Winker out at third base. It was a heads-up play on Freeman’s part, as the Braves conceded just one run via the sacrifice fly in order to get out of the inning with just a two-run deficit going into the ninth.
The Braves were unable to cut the deficit and went quietly into the rainy night in Cincinnati. They’re back at .500 after dropping this series against the Reds and now they’ll have to try to reclaim their winning record tomorrow night against the Rockies.