This series started with both the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds holding down 10-11 records. This series ended with both teams still holding identical records, as the Braves and Reds ended up splitting the four-game series as they both traded wins and losses for the weekend.
The one constant in Cincinnati's wins was power. In the first game, the Reds put on a impressive display in power hitting. What was even more impressive (or, more appropriately for those of us who were rooting for the Braves, disappointing) was who hit those homers. While seeing Todd Frazier hit a home run isn't a surprise, seeing Tucker Barnhart, Billy Hamilton, and Mike Leake (the pitcher (!!!)) hit homers was. Freddie Freeman's RBI was the lone run for the Braves on Thursday, as the Braves just couldn't match what the Reds did to Shelby Miller and the rest of the Braves pitching staff.
The big bats returned for the Reds in game three. Cincinnati ended up scoring eight runs on the night, with most of the production coming from three home runs and two triples. The triples were hit by one person: Jay Bruce. The first one of those triples could've been just a loud out on another day; But on this particular day, Kelly Johnson couldn't make the tough catch, and that was Jay Bruce's first three-bagger of the night. His second one was just a ball that was well hit and hit in the worst possible spot for the Braves outfielders. That one ended up scoring two runs. Meanwhile, Jason Marquis befuddled Braves hitters for a good chunk of the game before the Braves were able to cobble four runs together. That wasn't enough on the night, and at the time, the Reds were preparing for a potential series victory.
The night before that saw Mike Foltynewicz make his first career start as both a Brave and a Major Leaguer. This game also saw him make his first at-bats since high school, and it went about as well as it could possibly go for the former Astros prospect. As if he was inspired by Mike Leake's performance at the plate on Thursday, Folty decided to contribute to his own cause as well, as he ended up hitting a crucial two-run double in Friday night's game. The other two runs came from a monster of a home run from Kelly Johnson. Those four runs were enough for the Braves to pull off a 4-3 victory on Friday.
So, the Braves needed to win on Sunday in order to salvage a split in the four-game series. With Johnny Cueto going for the Reds, conventional wisdom would've led to a belief that in order for the Braves to win, the offense would have to do what they could against Cueto while Julio Teheran hopefully bounced back from a few rough starts. By the end of the sixth inning, it was clear that both of those wishes were going to be granted. The Braves were able to take advantage of a rare-off day from the Reds' ace, and Julio Teheran pitched six scoreless innings before making his exit. The bullpen kept up the scoreless streak, and by the end of the day, the Braves had earned a 5-0 shutout victory and salvaged a series split.
Obviously, the results of the games and the two team's current records seem to indicate that right now, there isn't really anything separating the two teams. For the Braves, getting a split has to be seen as a positive. Another series loss would've had the team reeling, but now, the team has to be feeling a little bit of optimism as they welcome the Phillies to town this week.