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Braves falter late as Reds win nail-biter 9-8

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This back-and-forth contest went the Reds' way in the series opener.

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Braves didn't quite have enough comeback juice as drop the first game of this four-game series in a close contest with the Reds, losing 9-8.

Aaron Blair continued to have trouble with walks, issuing four of them in five innings of work. His first was to Zack Cozart to start the game, and he came around to score on Jay Bruce's triple to right. Adam Duvall followed with a towering two-run homer high off the left-field foul pole. The Braves would answer with two in the home half of the first against Reds starter Daniel Wright on Freddie Freeman's single and then on a double play.

The Braves would tie the game in the second on Erick Aybar's RBI double, who was then thrown out trying for a triple.

Blair continued to struggle in the third inning, walking three straight following Cozart's leadoff single to force in a run. A pair of sacrifice flies gave the Reds a 6-3 lead, but they'd gave two of them right back. Following Freeman's two-out double, Joey Votto muffed a ground ball from Nick Markakis to allow Freeman to score. Adonis Garcia's double brought the Braves within one.

Wright was pulled after just three innings, and the Braves went to work against the Reds' much-maligned bullpen. In the fifth, Freddie Freeman belted a two-run homer off JC Ramirez to give the Braves their first lead and put Aaron Blair in a position to get his first win. 7-6 Braves.

Alas, it was not to be as Blair was done after five innings and Ryan Weber coughed up a pair in the sixth on three singles and a wild pitch to surrender the lead back to the Reds.

The Braves tried to come back in the eighth. Adonis Garcia led off the inning with a game-tying home run off Ross Ohlendorf, who tried his darndest to give the lead back to the Braves by giving up a single and a pair of walks to load the bases, but the Reds escaped with no further damage.

The ninth inning started ominously for Arodys Vizcaino. Joey Votto reached on a bloop double; after Brandon Phillips struck out, Vizcaino intentionally walked Jay Bruce and retired Adam Duvall on a pop-up. Then his control left him. Vizcaino walked the next two hitters to force in the winning run, and the Braves were retired in order in their half of the ninth, cementing the win for the Reds.

Win Expectancy

Source: FanGraphs