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Acuña, Riley homers not enough as Braves fall to Reds, 5-2

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The Braves were largely unable to solve Alex Wood. The same cannot be said with regards to Kevin Gausman and the Reds.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Braves were befallen by yet another bad start from Kevin Gausman, who is likely nearing the end of his tenure as a member of the Atlanta starting rotation. The Reds jumped on Gausman early, as Joey Votto gave Cincinnati a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. Combined with a solid outing from Alex Wood, the Reds outclassed the Braves, and held on for a 5-2 win to even the series.

After surrendering a two-run homer in the first inning, Gausman worked himself into trouble before a one-out fielder’s choice by Josh VanMeter plated the third run of the game to give the Reds a 3-0 lead. Two more runs would score in the fourth inning on a fielder’s choice by Jesse Winker and a sacrifice fly by Joey Votto to push the lead to 5-0.

Gausman would exit after recording two outs in the fifth inning, having allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks. Despite five strikeouts, Gausman was once again victimized by his lack of secondary offerings, which allowed the Reds lineup to feast on the limited repertoire. With several options in the upper minors, Gausman is certainly a candidate to be moved to the bullpen or optioned to Triple-A given his continued struggles.

In the bottom-half of the fifth inning, Austin Riley homered to left-center field to plate the first Atlanta run off Alex Wood. The homer as the first since July 6 for Riley, who has struggled mightily for the past six weeks. The homer may have been of small consequence to the end result, but could give Riley a necessary boost as he looks to regain the form he showed in May and June.

In the sixth inning, Ronald Acuña touched off against Wood for an absolute mammoth homer that traveled 463 feet with an exit velocity of 116 MPH. The blast was the 26th of the season for the young phenom, who is churning toward a 30-30 season and has an outside shot to challenge a 40-40 campaign. His sixth inning homer brought the score to 5-2, which would hold as the Reds bullpen shut down the Atlanta offense over the final two-plus innings.

The Braves will host Cincinnati for two more games, with tomorrow night’s matchup featuring newly-acquired Reds arm Trevor Bauer against Atlanta left-hander Dallas Keuchel.