If you're a Reds fan and you happened to stumble onto this blog, then congratulations on your team's victory! This sure was a fun night for you guys. Unfortunately, since Mike Leake pitched eight shutout innings and hit a home run to help his own cause as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Atlanta Braves, this wasn't a fun night for those of us who frequent this blog on a daily basis.
As usual when it comes to this rough patch that the Braves are currently in, things started well enough. Shelby Miller was the starter for the Braves tonight, and he made it into the seventh inning (which is ratified air for our starters as of late) after getting through the first five of those innings without giving up a run. The sixth inning was when the Reds finally broke through, and it all started with a strikeout. Unfortunately, strike three was a passed ball, and the last person you want running to first in that situation is Billy Hamilton (unless you're a Reds fan, then that was probably awesome for you). After that, Zack Cozart singled to move Hamilton to second base, then Joey Votto completed the manufacturing process of the first run of the game by doubling home Hamilton.
The seventh inning was when this game started to get silly. At this point, the Braves offense was anemic, but when you consider the fact that it was still 1-0 at the time, the Braves were still in it. That changed in a hurry, as the Reds hit back-to-back homers off of Shelby Miller to start off the seventh inning. The two guys who went deep may shock you, though. Tucker Barnhart had two career home runs before April 30th. Now he has three. Mike Leake hitting a home run is also extremely rare, and yes, you read that right: Mike Leake hit a home run. Once he touched home plate, the Reds were up by three, and it stayed that way going into the eighth inning.
At that point, Donnie Veal entered the game in relief of Shelby Miller. The first batter he faced in his return to the big leagues was Todd Frazier, and Frazier gave him an extremely rude welcome by hitting the second pitch he saw into the left field seats. That made it 4-0, and at this point it was clear that the Braves probably weren't going to catch the Reds tonight.
Then we got the ninth inning, which was just strange. Ian Thomas received the relief baton for this inning, and the second pitch he threw was hit for a home run. The guy who hit the home run was Billy Hamilton, which meant that this game had officially entered the bizarro world. Meanwhile, the Braves offense went from the 3rd inning through the eighth inning without picking up a hit. That changed when Phil Gosselin hit a double, and, against all odds, the Braves scored a run because Freddie Freeman willed it to be so. So there's a positive: The Braves didn't get shut out tonight when all signs pointed towards that happening. Unfortunately, that one run wasn't nearly enough to win, as they ended up coming four runs short.
If you're of the football persuasion and you decided to skip the Braves while watching guys in ill-fitting suits put on hats, then you probably made a good choice. Meanwhile, if you stuck with the baseball like the rest of us, then you were "treated" to another bit of pain (and we mean that literally when it comes to Chris Johnson, who is headed to the Disabled List after injuring his hand in a slide). At least there's always tomorrow, right?