You’d be forgiven for needing a good, stiff drink after that series! I’m torn about wanting to play the Reds in the playoffs, as I think that dumb stadium suits our team pretty well all things considered. Could we handle the stretch of watching it? That’s another question.
The craziness didn’t really start until the third inning today, which was a nice respite. Michael Harris tripled underneath a diving Reds outfielder to lead off the frame. He scored on an Ozzie Albies sacrifice fly, but the inning was not over. With two on and two out, the returning Sean Murphy ripped a single to left to score Austin Riley and make it 2-0 and advance Matt Olson to third. Marcell Ozuna followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 3-0.
The Reds answered back with a Spencer Steer RBI double in the bottom half of the inning, making it 3-1. However, Charlie Morton struck out Will Benson with runners at the corners and two outs to prevent further damage.
You pretty much knew that wasn’t going to be the last big threat the Reds put together and, sure enough, they tied the game on a two-run, Matt McLain double one inning later. However, the Braves took advantage of the ballpark to take the lead back in the sixth inning, as Matt Olson sliced a fly ball off the end of the bat to left field that somehow sailed out of the park (and it was the second such home run he had in this series, by the way). There were two men on base when this happened, as well, meaning the Braves were the owners of a 6-3 lead.
But here came the Reds again against the Atlanta bullpen. McLain hit a solo homer in the seventh to make it 6-4 and then hit a two-out, two-run double in the eighth to pull Cincinnati to within a single run. With the tying run in scoring position, Joe Jimenez got Steer to fly out to left.
That set up the ninth inning, with the Braves holding a very tenuous one-run lead. Raisel Iglesias struck out the terrifying Elly de la Cruz to start the inning. Jake Fraley singled on a 1-2 pitch and Jonathan India did the same on a payoff pitch, though, putting runners at the corners with one out. That brought Kevin Newman to the plate, and he thankfully hit a tailor-made double play ball to Riley at third to end the proceedings.
The Braves now return home for a six-game homestand against Minnesota and Miami, their final homestand before the All-Star break.