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Albies saves the day, blasts walk-off homer in 8-6 win for Atlanta

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Braves entered play with momentum on their side and an opportunity to tie the Phillies for the division lead. All those dreams were put on hold as the Braves blew a late lead, but luckily the Atlanta baseball club employs Ozhaino Albies. Down to their final out in the 11th inning, the Braves leadoff hitter blasted a three-run, walk-off homer into the Chop House to give Atlanta a shocking 8-6 win.

The Braves were quick to find success against Reds starter Wade Miley, scoring five early runs against the veteran left-hander. Austin Riley kicked off the scoring for Atlanta with a line drive RBI double, which left the bat at 109 MPH, over the head of the center fielder. Ozzie Albies scored easily to give the Braves a 1-0 lead, but Jorge Soler ran through a stop sign from Ron Washington and was easily thrown out. The rally would end after Dansby Swanson flew out, but Atlanta had an early advantage.

The second inning saw the Braves extend their lead on a two-run homer by Guillermo Heredia that was crushed to left field. This blast had an exit velocity of 107 MPH and landed deep in the seats, giving Heredia his fifth homer of the season and giving Atlanta a 3-0 lead over Miley.

The Braves two more in the third inning on another RBI double by Austin Riley, which brought home Freddie Freeman on a close play at the plate. Freeman was originally called out, but replay review actually favored the Braves for a change and the call was overturned. Dansby Swanson followed with a sac fly, which gave Atlanta a 5-0 lead.

This game was hardly comfortable for Touki Toussaint on the mound, but early fireworks from the Braves offense allowed him to work with a lead. Toussaint was in early trouble to begin the game, but avoided damage by striking out Mike Moustakas in the top-half of the first inning to leave two runners on. The Reds were quiet offensively despite some issues finding the strike zone for Toussaint. Their silence, unfortunately, only lasted until the sixth inning, when Joey Votto blasted a two-run homer against Toussaint. A pretty compelling case could have been made for removing the Atlanta starter after the fifth, but Snitker opted to allow the top of the Reds order to see Toussaint a third time. After the Votto homer, Toussaint allowed a single to Moustakas and was removed in favor of Jesse Chavez. Toussaint finished having pitched five innings while allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

The Braves bullpen was shaky in relief of Toussaint. Chavez allowed a single to the first batter he faced but was able to escape, stranding a pair of runners. Chris Martin allowed a walk and single in the seventh inning, then was removed with two outs in favor of Tyler Matzek, who promptly struck out Moustakas to strand another pair of runners. In the eighth inning, Luke Jackson was greeted with a nonsensical, chopped double off the bat of Tyler Naquin to lead off the inning. The next batter, Eugenio Suarez, blasted a double to center that scored Naquin and cut the Braves advantage to 5-3.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati staff was firing scoreless innings to keep the game within reach for the Reds offense. Cessa, Wilson, and Hembree combined to allow two baserunners in relief of Miley, who had retired his final six batters prior to exiting after the fifth inning. All their combined efforts were paid off in the ninth inning.

Will Smith entered in the ninth for Atlanta with an eye toward preserving a two-run lead. The left-hander had been shaky in recent outings, but this one began with some promise as he struck out Jesse Winker to lead off the inning. After reaching a 1-2 count against Nick Castellanos, the next offering from Smith was a slider that hit the batter on his foot. This set the stage for Joey Votto to potentially tie the game and the former MVP did just that, crushing a first-pitch slider into the Chop House to knot the score at 5-5. This marked the second blown save in four days for Smith, whose hold on the closer role certainly seems to be slipping with each appearance.

The Braves had an opportunity to walk the game off in the ninth inning, putting two runners on against Reds closer Michael Lorenzen. Ozzie Albies just missed ending the game with a deep fly out to right field, but came up short. Pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza came to bat with two outs and the winning run on third base but struck out to send the game into extra innings.

The tenth inning saw both clubs strand their respective ghost runners, with neither team even advancing the runner to third base. Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson each flew out in the bottom-half of the inning, followed by a strikeout from Adam Duvall to push the proceedings into the 11th inning.

The Reds were able to scratch across a run in the 11th inning as leadoff batter Kyle Farmer singled home the go-ahead run, finally moving the extra-inning ghost runner from his perch at second base. This gave Cincinnati a 6-5 lead against Braves right-hander Edgar Santana, who was able to halt the rally and give Atlanta an opportunity to counter in the bottom-half of the inning.

That scoring opportunity was in jeopardy as the Braves were down to their final out. Old friend Lucas Sims walked Joc Pederson with two outs to put the winning run on first base, which gave Ozzie Albies a shot to win the game and the young man delivered in dramatic fashion. A high fastball was deposited into the Chop House to give the Braves an incredible walk-off win after seemingly being down and out. This team continues to fight and Albies battling through that final at-bat is a perfect example of just how resilient this club has become. What a win for the home team.

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