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Sal Romano has best start of rookie season as Reds beat Braves in series opener

The rookie was incredibly effective in his 7 inning stint.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Sal Romano has flashed some of the best fastball velocity in the majors since being back in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, but to date his results have been mixed, at best. On Friday night, though, Romano put it all together for the Reds against the Atlanta Braves, posting his best outing of the season.

Romano allowed just a single earned run while getting through 7 innings, pounding the strike zone repeatedly and letting the defense behind him do what it does so well - make damn fine plays. He allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 in his 102 pitch outing, and had the kind of poise on the rubber that showed that the experience he’s gleaned in this rough rookie season just might be soaking in at this point.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Adam Duvall, who clubbed a go-ahead 2-run dinger Eugenio Suarez, who homered and walked twice; Jesse Winker, who homered and singled; Joey Votto, who stretched his most recent streak of getting on base at least twice to 2 games with a single and a walk; and Raisel Iglesias, who flashed some seriously filthy stuff to pick up another save.

Key Plays

  • Dingers were the theme of the day, and Matt Adams turned on the dinger faucet in the Bottom of the 2nd with a solo blast off Romano into the RF seats. Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • Said faucet was on a slow drip until the Top of the 6th, when the Reds finally burst through. Votto singled to open the frame, and he scored a batter later when Duvall cranked a meatball into the seats beyond the left-center wall to open the Reds’ scoring. A batter later, Suarez clubbed an oppo dinger, and Winker followed him with a laser into the RF seats for back to back jacks, and the Reds held a 4-1 lead.
  • The top of the Cincinnati order then loaded the bases in the Top of the 7th off Rex Brothers, eventually tacking on another run on a 5-4-3 double play grounded into by Duvall. Reds led, 5-1.
  • Kevin Shackelford took over for Romano in the Bottom of the 8th, and that went not so swimmingly. Ender Iniciarte and Brandon Phillips began the inning with back to back singles, and both eventually scored after Nick Markakis drove one in on a grounder and Tyler Flowers doubled into right-center. Reds led, 5-3.
  • After that, Iglesias took over and blew through the Atlanta offense in rather effective fashion, and the Reds won, 5-3.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Zack Cozart was plunked on the left shin in the Top of the 7th, and while he initially stayed in on the bases, he exited prior to his next half-inning on defense. Hopefully, it’s just a damn sore bruise, and nothing more.
  • Scott Schebler was activated earlier today, with Scott Feldman hitting the 10-day DL to open the roster spot. Schebler got a pinch-hit appearance and was plunked on the right leg.
  • Saturday’s matchup between these two squads will begin at 7:10 PM ET. Robert Stephenson will return to the Cincinnati rotation for the start, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta starter Julio Teheran.
  • Speaking of Julio Teheran, the resident Atlanta ace hasn’t had as great of a season as was expected from him. In large part, it’s been the games in his new home park that have been the problem, as opponents have an .875 OPS against him in SunTrust Park as opposed to a .719 OPS in road games. In fact, he’s just 1-8 with a 7.07 ERA in his 2017 home starts compared to 6-2 with a 3.24 ERA on the road. So, when he shuts out the Reds tomorrow, consider this the official jinx.
  • Tunes.