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Alex Wood brilliant in return to Atlanta, Reds beat Braves 5-2

That’s a dang fine homecoming.

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

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

For all the anticipation this winter about how much Alex Wood could give the Cincinnati Reds rotation, it’s still a bit...I dunno, odd to see him on the mound in the uniform at this juncture.

For one, the rest of the rotation this year has been absolutely lights out without him, and after missing some 4+ months with back problems, it’s hard to really have great expectaions from Wood when he does actually take the mound after such a long layoff.

So far, though, he’s been pretty much exactly what we hoped we’d see all year, with his start against Atlanta tonight - the team that originally drafted him out of the University of Georgia - one that should absolutely have you excited for his potential down the stretch.

Wood fired 6.2 innings of 4 H, 2 ER ball, walking just a lone Brave while fanning 5 on 93 pitches. Yes, he allowed a pair of dingers, but was largely pitch-efficient and dominant in an outing that, had the Reds lost, would have clinched no more than a series split in Atlanta, one that would break their current run of having won 3 series in a row.

Welcome back, Alex, and cheers to being just as good as we all hoped.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who homered, singled, walked, stole a bag, scored twice, and drove in a trio of runs; Eugenio Suarez, who singled twice and walked thrice, too; Kyle Farmer, who had a pair of hits and scored a run while also playing back in his hometown; Michael Lorenzen, who fired 1.1 scoreless, hitless innings; Raisel Iglesias, who fired a perfect 9th for the save; and Nick Senzel, who had 2 more hits - one a double, because of course.

Key Plays

  • The Cincinnati Reds are the kings of the 1st inning, and that was no different tonight against Atlanta starter Kevin Gausman. Jesse Winker poked a single to lead off the game, and Votto followed with a mauled meatball over the RF wall for a 2-run dinger. Reds led early, per usual, 2-0.
  • Votto helped the Reds to another run in the Top of the 3rd. He roped a 109 mph single into RF, and went 1B to 3B on a subsequent single off the bat of Eugenio Suarez. A productive groundout by Josh VanMeter later, and the Reds held a 3-0 lead.
  • The Reds doinked some more offense upon Gausman in the Top of the 4th, too. Jose Peraza got the action started with a single, and he motored all the way to 3B when Kyle Farmer poked a single into RF right where 2B Ozzie Albies would have been had he not been covering 2B because Peraza took off on a perfectly executed hit and run. A nifty bunt by Wood put runners on 2B and 3B, and Peraza then scored on a well-placed grounder to 2B by Winker (where Peraza beat the throw home, after review). Votto then spanked a lineout deep enough into RF to allow Farmer to tag and score, and the Reds held a 5-0 lead.
  • Atlanta finally put some good wood on an offering from...well, from the Reds starting pitcher. Austin Riley turned around a Wood meatball for a solo shot over the wall in left-center in the Bottom of the 5th, and that cut the Reds lead to 5-1.
  • Ronald Acuna is a budding freaking amazeball of a superstar, and he superstar’d a Wood meatball for a solo dinger of his own in the Bottom of the 6th, belting a 463 foot tater to cut the Reds lead to 5-2. Despite this game being played in Atlanta, however, that was the last tater that was fried on the evening, and the Reds brought home a 5-2 win.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Acuna’s 463 foot dinger was the hardest hit ball in Atlanta Braves statcast history, which dates back to the 2015 season. Ronald Acuna is younger than Taylor Trammell, fwiw.
  • Tomorrow will be the debut of Trevor Bauer with the Reds, as he’ll toe the rubber for Cincinnati opposite Atlanta starter Dallas Keuchel. First pitch is set for the usual 7:20 PM ET.
  • Tunes.