Justin Upton leads Braves to 5-4 victory over Reds

Kevin C. Cox

The Braves got out to an early lead and clung to it for a 5-4 victory

The early stages of this game had the looks of a blowout, but the Braves bats went cold after the third inning and the Reds rallied twice late in the game to make it a close one. Two important Reds position players left the game with leg injuries in Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco, which could have long standing effects on the rest of the series.

Scoring got going early on in this one as B.J. Upton, wearing glasses for the first time, got an infield hit which preceded a Freeman hit and a Justin Upton three run homer. The Braves scored added on a run in the second and third innings before Homer Bailey got it together and finished off his six innings of work.

It should be noted that B.J. did hit the ball very hard on two of his outs, so there's some hope that maybe his vision problems were what has been causing his lack of performance. It's at least a reason to think about since he is a player in his prime years and has had a history of success.

Back to the game though, Ervin Santana looked impressive until the later stages of his outing. He struck out seven and walked just one in 95 pitches, but he allowed four runs to score which is only the second time in 22 starts that a Braves starter allowed more than two earned runs. That stat is just phenomenal to me. Luis Avilan came in to get out Joey Votto in relief of Santana but failed to do so and a couple of Santana's runs came across while he was out of the game. David Carpenter and Jordan Walden set the game up for Craig Kimbrel.

Kimbrel did not look like his smooth usual self, giving up a hit to Roger Bernadihna and walking Zack Cozart on four pitches. Kimbrel then got back to back strikeouts and got Joey Votto to hit a slow grounder to Chris Johnson. This is where things got weird, Johnson opted not to tag Bernadihna who was right next to him and instead throw to first. That's not a terrible decision but he did so on the run and threw it wide of the bag. Freeman had his toe on the bag and Votto was called out, but the play went to a dramatic replay. The replay showed that he held the bag and the umpire comes out from replay with the correct call.

Tomorrow the Braves will throw David Hale at the Reds, and Cincinnati will counter with Mike Leake. With Mesoraco's injury seeming rather serious, it wouldn't surprise me to see them put him on the disabled list and call up a catcher to replace him -- this would lead to our old friend Brayan Pena starting one or both of the next two games. Frazier had the manager come look at him while on the bases but opted to stay in the game. A few innings later, with the score 5-0, Frazier took himself out of the game with a tight leg. Those are two big blows to their offense, and I hope for speedy recoveries for both Frazier and Mesoraco.

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