Neither Ozzie Albies nor Ronald Acuna Jr. have turned 22 years old yet, but they looked like veteran bats against Reds pitching on Thursday. Both homered and doubled in the game, combining for five RBIs to lead the Braves in a 7-4 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati. The result gave Atlanta wins in the last two games of this four game series after the Reds took the first two, leaving Cincinnati without a series victory in their seventh series of the season. The Reds’ record is now 5-20.
Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Aside from one inning, the Reds didn’t swing the bat well today at all. The single biggest swing of the bat, though, was produced by none other than Joey Votto. Votto came to the plate with runners at the corners and two outs with the Reds down three in the fifth inning, got a pitch to hit, and crushed it for a 3-run homer. Votto entered this series on the third-longest home run drought of his career, and has now homered in three straight games. For a team that’s in as desperate a need for its power bats to get going as the Reds are, that’s a welcome sign, even if it wasn’t enough to produce a win on this Thursday afternoon.
Honorable mentions go to Amir Garrett, who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen and Alex Blandino, who singled to stretch his hit streak to six games, and Jesse Winker, who doubled in a ninth inning pinch hit appearance stretch his hit streak to eight games.
- Homer Bailey disposed of the first two hitters on just five pitches before Freddie Freeman jumped on the first pitch he saw and ripped it down the right field line for a double. Nick Markakis then came to the plate and singled him home, and the Braves led 1-0.
- Ronald Acuna Jr. is no joke, people. In the first plate appearance of his second career game, he launched the first homer of his career into the second deck in left field. Braves led 2-0.
- Bailey cruised for a couple innings after that, but the young bats of the Braves got to him again in the fifth. After an excuse-me swing by pitcher Sean Newcomb managed to stay inside the third base bag and earn him a base hit to lead off the inning, Ozzie Albies came up two batters later and smashed a 2-run homer to right field. Bailey finished the inning, but he would be gone after that, looking up at 4-0 deficit.
- Then the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around, and after absolutely dominating the Reds’ lineup for four innings, Newcomb melted down. He went 2-0 to Blandino before serving up a fastball down the middle that the young infielder easily ripped to left field for a base hit. Then Newcomb threw eight straight balls to pinch hitter Phil Gosselin and Billy Hamilton to load the bases for Jose Peraza, who grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored the Reds’ first run. That set the stage for Joey God Damn Votto, who got a tasty meatball from Newcomb that he crushed over the center field wall for a game-tying 3-run homer.
- Freddie Freaking Freeman, man. He doubled for the third time in the game to lead off the eighth inning. Wandy Peralta did a good job of getting two harmless outs after him, but then that Acuna kid showed up again. He flared a ball into no man’s land behind first base that neither Blandino nor Schebler could get to, scoring Freeman and racing to second on a double. Acuna then scored on a single by Dansby Swanson, and the Braves led 6-4 in the eighth.
- Dylan Floro couldn’t hold the Braves in the ninth, either. He retired the first two batters of the inning, but gave up a single to center off the bat of Ender Inciarte that allowed the Atlanta center fielder to stretch his hit streak to 10 games. Albies then continued his big day with a double down the right field line to score Inciarte and make it a 7-4 game.
- Winker doubled and Scooter Gennett walked to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but a flyout by Tucker Barnhart ended it. Reds lose.
- Eugenio Suarez returned to the lineup today for the first time since breaking his thumb on April 8th. He went 0-for-4, but made a couple of really nice plays over at third base.
- To make room for Suarez, the Reds sent down Cliff Pennington — and not Alex Blandino, which is a pleasantly surprising development. The team also sent down Philip Ervin and called up Rosell Herrera, who came into today leading the International League in extra base hits. Herrera grounded out in a pinch hit appearance on Thursday.
- Jose Peraza entered this game having not struck out in his last 43 at-bats, the longest streak in the majors. Newcomb ended that streak by fanning Peraza in the first.
- The Reds will hit the road tomorrow and travel to Minnesota to face the Twins in their first interleague action of the season. Luis Castillo will face Phil Hughes on the mound, with game time set for 8:10 p.m. EST.
- Tunes. Enjoy the draft, everyone.