The Braves lineup on Saturday night featured six hitters who are hitting below league average this season and gave the most at bats to Emilio Bonifacio and Andrelton Simmons. In a development that should shock nobody the lineup failed to score as the Braves wasted an outstanding Ervin Santana start in a 1-0 loss.
The game was delayed two hours by rain and both lineups seemed completely out of sorts most of the night. Emilio Bonifacio led off the game with a single but was caught stealing. As a result neither pitcher faced a batter above the minimum until the bottom of the third when a Jack Hannahan single forced Santana to face one extra batter.
The game was a steady progression of outs until the Reds finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning. In a game that featured so little offense the lone run was scored by Reds pitcher Mike Leake who led off the sixth with a double. Leake was sacrificed to third base and with two outs Brandon Phillips came up with a single to score the games only run. It is frustrating to give up a double to the other teams pitcher but Santana had to feel hard done by the lack of support he got from his offense. Santana went seven innings, striking out seven, with one walk and the one run.
The Braves had one big chance to pick Santana up in the top of the seventh but failed to cash it in. Andrelton Simmons led off the inning with a double but the two hot hitters in the lineup Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton struck out. Then in a bizarre turn of events both Chris Johnson and Evan Gattis managed to walk to load the bases with two outs. Tommy La Stella came up with a chance to turn the tide of the game but grounded out to end the Braves one big threat.
The Braves went down quietly in the 8th and were eviscerated by Aroldis Chapman in the ninth to close the game. Chapman has a 0.90 FIP this season and has grabbed the title of best closer alive from Craig Kimbrel's hands. Chapman was unhittable and the Braves were inept on offense all night. The Braves can still win the series tomorrow with Aaron Harang on the mound.