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Braves begin season with a 6-3 loss to the Reds

Atlanta falls despite a big game from Austin Riley.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A good performance by Tyler Mahle and a three-run home run from Brandon Drury sent the Atlanta Braves to a 6-3 Opening Day loss to the Cincinnati Reds Thursday night at Truist Park.

Max Fried came out smoking and retired the side in order in the first, including back-to-back strikeouts to open the game. He struck out Joey Votto to start the second but then hit catcher Tyler Stephenson with a slider. That would come back to haunt him, as Nick Senzel singled to put runners at first and second. Fried got Mike Moustakas to pop out for the second out, but Kyle Farmer followed with a single to left that scored Stephenson to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead.

Fried’s troubles continued in the third. Jonathan India and Aristides Aquino reached on back-to-back bloop singles with exit velocities of 65.2 and 67.1 mph, respectively. Fried walked Tommy Pham to load the bases before Votto lined a single to right that scored India to make it 2-0. Stephenson followed with a sacrifice fly to right that scored Aquino to extend the lead to 3-0. Fried eventually got the ground ball he needed off the bat of Nick Senzel who grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Tyler Mahle allowed one hit through the first two innings and retired the first two hitters of the third. He then issued back-to-back walks to Eddie Rosario and Matt Olson. Austin Riley then grounded down the line at third. Brandon Drury fielded the play, but his throw hit Riley. Rosario scored on the play to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Braves were looking for more, but Mahle snagged a 104.5 mph comeback liner off the bat of Marcell Ozuna to end the inning.

The Reds broke the game open in the sixth. Fried retired the first two hitters of the inning before Mike Moustakas singled off the glove of a sliding Swanson. Kyle Farmer followed with another soft single, which ended Fried’s night. Collin McHugh replaced Fried and immediately served up a three-run homer to Drury to make it 6-1.

Fried was charged for five runs and allowed eight hits, although four had exit velocities of less than 70 mph. He struck out five and walked one while throwing 84 pitches. Mahle exited after the fifth, having allowed three hits and an unearned run. He walked two and struck out seven.

Spencer Strider replaced McHugh in the seventh and was impressive as he struck out five of the six batters he faced over two scoreless innings.

The Braves crept closer in the eighth against reliever Dauri Moreta. Matt Olson walked to lead off the inning and Austin Riley followed with a long two-run homer to left-center to make it 6-3.

That was as close as Atlanta would get, as Tony Santillan retired the side in order in the ninth to end the game.

The Braves finished with just four hits in the game and Riley accounted for three of them. Ozzie Albies was the only other Braves player to record a hit. Jonathan India, Kyle Farmer and Brandon Drury all finished with two hits apiece.

Atlanta will try to get in the win column on Friday when Charlie Morton takes the mound for the first time since Game 1 of the World Series. Cincinnati will go with rookie left-hander Reiver Sanmartin.

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