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Braves secure sweep of the Reds with third straight one-run win

Braves win another close game with an eighth inning Eddie Rosario home run proving decisive.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

In the final game of their series against the Reds, the Braves sent out flame throwing ace Spencer Strider to face off against a fellow high-velocity right-hander in Hunter Greene. However, both pitchers struggled early, with plenty of traffic on the basepaths.

The Reds struck first, putting Strider on the ropes with back-to-back singles from Jonathan India and TJ Friedl. After a long flyout off the bat of Jake Fraley to move both runners, Tyler Stephenson drove them in with a single to right field. Strider managed to limit the damage after that, punctuating the end of the inning with a strikeout.

Ronald Acuña Jr. continued his hot start in the bottom of the inning with a double into the corner, but the Braves couldn’t take advantage, leaving him stranded.

Strider settled in, overwhelming the bottom of the Reds order and striking out the side. In the first inning he struggled to put hitters away, but that was not an issue in the second, getting strikeouts with his entire arsenal of pitches. He struck out Jose Barrero with a slider, Luke Maile with a fastball and Will Benson with a changeup.

The Braves rallied in the second inning, getting the first three batters on base. Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies smoked singles to right field before Orlando Arcia got hit on the wrist. Arcia stayed in the game initially but was lifted for Ehire Adrianza in the third inning. The good news is that the Braves announced that Arcia’s x-rays for a fractured wrist were negative, so hopefully he can avoid the IL. If he does go on the shelf, one of Vaughn Grissom or Braden Shewmake would likely take his spot.

After a Marcell Ozuna strikeout, which was met by a chorus of boos and another by Sam Hilliard, the inning all came down to Acuña, who delivered, punching a single up the middle to score two.

The combination of India and Freidl would once again get the Reds going with India walking and Freidl getting a base hit. Then came a weird sequence where it looked like Spencer Strider got his fifth strikeout of the night when he got Jake Fraley to flail at a slider, but Strider didn’t come set before the pitch, resulting in a balk.

Strider ended up walking Fraley and loaded the bases with nobody out. He limited the damage to only one run on a Wil Myers one-hopper which Albies couldn’t cleanly handle despite getting the out at first base.

The Braves responded immediately, something which was a theme on the night. Austin Riley got things started with a single and then Sean Murphy drove him in from first on a double, with Riley just beating the throw. Rosario moved Murphy over to third base, but the Braves were unable to take advantage.

After that, both Strider and Greene settled in and showed their ability to generate strikeouts. After laboring through three innings and racking up a very high pitch count, Strider struck out two in the fourth and three in the fifth to cap off his night. Meanwhile, Greene only allowed one baserunner between the third inning and his departure after the sixth, striking out five in those three frames.

Lucas Luetge replaced Strider in the sixth and had a clean first inning of work. However, he ran into trouble in the seventh, with TJ Freidl, a thorn in the Braves side all night, driving in Luke Maile to give the Reds a lead.

Just like the other times they fell behind tonight, the Braves responded quickly with a Sam Hilliard walk and stolen base setting up Acuña, who delivered once again, hitting a single to right to tie the game.

Kirby Yates worked around a leadoff walk to set up Eddie Rosario, who played hero for the Braves. Rosario unloaded on a fastball up and out of the zone, hitting it into the Braves bullpen, and giving Atlanta the lead. It was Rosario’s first home run of the season, which felt fitting as he was hitting the ball well all night.

AJ Minter put together a 1-2-3 ninth and the Braves won the ballgame. After losing three out of four to the Padres, they bounced back in a big way, sweeping the Reds and moving to 9-4 on the season.

The Braves go to Kansas City to start a series with the Royals on Friday after the off day.

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