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Reds defeat Braves in yet another close contest

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The Braves and the Reds are pretty close in quality right now, and two games that were decided in the ninth inning are proof-positive of that.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

For the second night in a row, the Braves and the Reds went into the ninth inning all square. Unfortunately, the Braves weren't able to pull off some more ninth inning magic, and instead it would be the Reds who were celebrating a late victory when it was all said and done.

This game didn't get off to a good start for the Braves, as the Reds jumped on Mike Foltynewicz early. A Billy Hamilton bunt single (of course) and a Joey Votto walk (of course) led to Todd Frazier making his first plate appearance of the game with one out. Folty threw three fastballs to Frazier, and Frazier ended up hitting the third one into the left field seats for a two-run homer. Just like that, the Braves were in an early hole.

It took the Braves two innings to claw their way out of that hole, and the clawing started in the third inning with a couple of one-out singles from Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman. The next batter was Kelly Johnson, and KJ slapped a double to left field to bring in Simmons and put the Braves on the board. A sac fly from Alberto Callaspo tied it up at two.

In the very next inning, the Braves edged their noses out in front. Jace Peterson (who is currently doing some fine hitting) led off the inning with a double. With two out, Nick Markakis came through and hit a double of his own. Peterson scored easily, and the Braves had their first lead of the evening.

That lead lasted until the seventh inning, which is when a series of unfortunate events led to this being the end of Mike Foltynewicz's night. After Brayan Pena hit a leadoff single, Zack Cozart came on as a pinch-hitter, and bunted one straight to Folty. Instead of going for the sure out at first, Folty tried to get Pena at second. His throw went into center field, and all hands were safe. After a sacrifice bunt from Billy Hamilton moved the runners up, a sac fly from Marlon Byrd tied the game up, and that was all she wrote for Mike Foltynewicz. Folty pitched a great game tonight, but his final inning was a sour end to what was a sweet performance. Hopefully, Folty will use this as a learning experience and file tonight's seventh-inning travails into his memory banks.

The game stayed tied going into the ninth, and after the Braves failed to get anything off of Aroldis Chapman, it was the Reds turn to inflict some ninth-inning pain on their opponents. The good news about tonight was that we got to see Jason Grilli return from a short battle with back spasms. The bad news is that his return to the mound wasn't a clean performance. After Grilli struck out Kristopher Negron, he gave up a single to Brayan Pena. The Reds then made a weird move (to us outsiders, at least) by putting in Michael Lorenzen (a pitcher) as a pinch-runner. They also made an equally weird move by putting in Devin Mesoraco as a pinch-hitter. Mesoraco has been flirting with the Disabled List all season, but tonight he ended up playing the role of hero for the Reds as he hit a line drive to left field that ended up scoring Lorenzen. Lorenzen was absolutely blazing across the basepaths (which explained why they put him on as a pinch-runner), and any chance the Braves had at possibly making it a play at the plate was ruined when Andrelton Simmons made a rare defensive mistake by muffing the cutoff throw.

So, the Braves and the Reds have played six games, and they've split the season series so far. The records for each team and the past two games seem to indicate that these two baseball clubs are pretty close in quality, and there still isn't much separating these two teams. However, somebody's gotta win this series, and if the past two games are any indication, then the final game of this series should be a fun one. Hopefully we see the Braves come out on top, though.

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="">FanGraphs</a></span>