Freddie Freeman hit for the cycle, the first for the Braves since Mark Kotsay did so in the 2008 season and Erick Aybar had a strong game with 3 RBIs (no, seriously...he did). Chase d’Arnaud took matters in to his own hands, though, and delivered a walk-off single in the craziest win of the year for the Braves by a final score of 9-8.
The Braves started the game by doing a good thing. In the bottom of the first, Mallex Smith led off with a single and was swiftly driven in by a resurgent Ender Inciarte by an RBI double. You can witness how fast Mallex is (seriously, he looked like he was out for a morning jog scoring from first) as well as Ender putting a charge in to one below.
Then, the Braves did some more good things in the bottom of the third inning where Freddie Freeman led with a double followed by Adonis Garcia getting a single on a pitch that bounced about a foot in front of the plate (proof at the end of this segment). Markakis would then walk to load the bases for Jace Peterson. Jace would “deliver” as he hit a grounder to first that normally sure-handed Joey Votto sailed the throw home on and scored another run for the Braves. A two-run double from Erick Aybar (no, you are not misreading that) later and the Braves had a 4-0 lead.
Then the Braves did some bad things. Bud Norris, who had yet to give up a hit in the game up until the fourth inning went BB,single, RBI double, Sac fly, RBI groundout, strikeout. While given how the inning started it could have been much worse, instead of a comfortable four run lead, the Braves led by just a margin of 4-3.
Then the Braves did another good thing. Erick Aybar added his third RBI of the game (no, thats still not a typo. It was, in fact Erick Aybar) with an RBI single to drive in Jace Peterson and just like that the Braves had a 5-3 lead.
Then the Braves did some more bad things. Casey Kelly relieved Bud Norris in the sixth inning and after Adonis Garcia looked like the old Adonis Garcia at third with an error, Kelly gave up a single, a double, and another single and just like that the Braves were behind 6-5 before recording an out. However, Ender Inciarte was a stone-cold assassin on that out as he made a diving play and popped up to make the throw and get a double play. He is very fun to watch play in the outfield.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Freddie Freeman did a really good thing with a homer to left that tied the game at 6-6 which put him a single away from the cycle.
Freddie ➡️ Yicketty ➡️ Tie ballgame!— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 16, 2016
Sadly, Freeman’s next trip to the plate did not yield the single that he needed to get the cycle as he went down on strikes in the bottom of the 8th. The Braves would go quietly as we came towards the end of regulation with Jim Johnson coming in to pitch the top of the 9th. He gave up a single, but former Braves top prospect grounded into an inning ending double play. Peraza currently has a .444 OPS in 5 games with the Reds thus far this season.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, after Viz pitched a scoreless top half of the inning, Mallex Smith reached second base with some help from an error, but Ender Inciarte, after a lengthy at-bat, struck out to end the inning. Fun fact, when the Braves brought Vizcaino in to the game, it was the 7th time (by my and others’ counts anyways...h/t to Graham Bailey on the Twitters) that the Braves used seven or more pitchers in a game.
The real reason you are reading this is that in the bottom of the 11th inning, after battling back from the being behind in the count, Freddie hit a line drive to center to clinch the cycle.
After an Adonis Garcia single and a walk to Nick Markakis, Jace Peterson would come to the plate with the bases loaded for a second time in the game. Then Jace did a bad thing as he hit a tapper out in front of home and the Reds got the force out at the plate. Then Tyler Flowers flied out to shallow center and Aybar grounded out and just like that, the Braves scored zero runs after loading the bases with no one out.
The Braves would have another prime scoring chance in the bottom of the 12th with a two out walk from Inciarte and an infield single that was challenged by the Reds and somehow overturned by Freddie Freeman. It was easily the worst replay to go against the Braves this season and there are several strong contenders there.
The Reds threatened in the top of the 13th inning as they loaded the bases off of Alexei Ogando for Jose Peraza, who promptly walked in a run. In case you don’t remember, Peraza walks only slightly more often than Jeff Francoeur or you and I sitting on our couches watching the game. The Reds scored another run on a Joey Votto single, but Chase d’Arnaud threw a laser to the plate for the last out of the inning and limit the damage. The Braves were down 8-6, but not out yet.
After back to back singles to start the bottom of the 13th, Jace Peterson would double in a run and cut the deficit to one run. Tyler Flowers then hit a game tying single to bring up Erick Aybar, who was intentionally walked to load the bases (again...not a typo). Chase d’Arnaud, in an act of mercy for this writer, then hit a walk-off single to secure the win for the Braves.