The Reds put on another display of power tonight, as they hit three homers and added two triples (from one player, to boot) to smash their way past our Braves tonight. Seriously, if you look a quick look at the box score for this game without taking a look at the location, you'd probably think that this game was played in that bandbox in Cincinnati instead of here in Atlanta. Both teams were sending the ball flying, but the Reds were far better at it tonight.
The scoring started in the top of the fourth, which is when Eric Stults was one out away from adding another scoreless inning to his tally. Jay Bruce came up to bat and hit a fly ball to left field. Kelly Johnson was in position to make the catch, but the ball narrowly evaded his glove and instead hit the wall. Instead of getting out of the inning thanks to a tough-but-possible catch, the Braves were now in a bit of a jam.
Said jam got stickier when Brandon Phillips hit a grounder to shallow left field. Andrelton Simmons has turned these types of ground balls into amazing outs on a couple of occasions, but he couldn't do it tonight. Instead, he booted it, and Bruce was able to saunter home to put the Reds on the board. Phillips then stole second base, and was brought home thanks to a bloop single to center from Brayan Pena. Again, this all could've been avoided had Kelly Johnson been able to pull off the tough catch, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes.
Things only got worse when Jay Bruce returned to the plate in the very next inning. It appears that Bruce wasn't content with just one triple tonight, because by the time this next at-bat of his ended, he was on third base once again. That's right; Jay Bruce had two triples in this game. While the first triple could've been avoided with a bit more luck on the Braves side, this triple was a no-doubter that had trouble written all over it as soon as it left Bruce's bat. In addition, this was a much costlier one for the Braves, as this particular triple brought home two Reds to make it 4-0 Cincinnati at that point.
Meanwhile, Reds starter Jason Marquis had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning. Thankfully, that changed thanks to a single from Simba. The shut-out was also taken off of the cards thanks to a home run from none other than Cameron Maybin. That was his fourth home run of the season, and he's now five away from matching his career single-season high of nine. Between this and Kelly Johnson's power renaissance, I'm pleasantly shocked.
Any hope of a potential Braves comeback was quickly snuffed out in the next two innings, as both Marlon Byrd and Todd Frazier hit solo homers in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Both of these came off of Eric Stutls. Now, I suppose it's a positive that Stults managed to get as deep into the game as he did, but giving up eleven hits, six earned runs, and two dingers in the process isn't exactly good. Tonight definitely didn't do wonders for his FIP, that's for sure.
The scoring in the late part of this game was merely inconsequential. Simba hit an RBI double in the eighth inning that brought that Braves within three, but that comeback was snuffed out thanks to Zack Cozart hitting his fifth homer of the season (which surpassed his grand total of four in 2014) in the ninth inning. Cameron Maybin was able to bring in Andrelton Simmons for the Braves' fourth run of the game in the ninth inning, but they needed a bigger rally to win tonight. They couldn't get that rally going, and the Reds picked up their second win of the series.
Again, the big story here is the fact that the Reds were able to absolutely batter Eric Stults tonight. Normally it's a good thing to see a Braves pitcher reach the seventh inning, but it wasn't so good to see him getting knocked around tonight. Now, the Braves will have to hope that the "real" Julio Teheran can show up and match Reds ace Johnny Cueto in Sunday's affair. Otherwise, the Braves are probably in real danger of losing three out of four in this series. Hopefully that's not the case.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1056044&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-05-02&team=Braves&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-05-02&team=Braves&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>