After a less than stellar outing by Kevin Gausman last night the Braves desperately needed a good start out of Dallas Keuchel and he certainly obliged.
Keuchel’s night began by mowing down the Reds first three batters in order and from there he was dominant. Keuchel gave up a hit in the second inning to Aristides Aquino and then pitched five consecutive no-hit innings.
His counterpart on the mound was Trevor Bauer and from the opening inning it was apparent that Bauer was less than comfortable. Bauer struggled in each of the first three innings as he piled up 75 pitches. However, Bauer was able to make it through with only allowing a single run on a wild pitch that allowed Ozzie Albies to score, and gave his team a chance to win.
Bauer allowed two more runs in the fifth inning which forced him from the game as Albies tripled and then was brought home on a double by Freddie Freeman. Adam Duvall tacked on the Braves third run shortly after with a double of his own to make it 3-0 Atlanta.
Keuchel finally ran into some trouble of his own in the top of the seventh. After two ground balls snuck through the left side of the infield Aquino lined a ball just over the left field wall to tie the game in a turn of some rather bad luck.
It was very frustrating to watch after the Braves scratched and clawed to get just three runs on the board and then the Reds post three in a matter of two minutes.
Then both teams turned to their bullpens to battle out the final innings and Mark Melancon was out first for the Braves to make his team debut. Melancon induced a deep flyout to begin the inning and then got Nick Senzel to groundout. Joey Votto then walked, and Eugenio Suarez dunked a single into center field, but Melancon was able to get a groundout from Phillip Ervin to end the inning.
The Braves finally got back on the beam in the bottom of the eighth as Brian McCann walked to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Max Fried. Then, after a strikeout by Adam Duvall, Ender Inciarte walked to put runners on first and second for Johan Camargo. Camargo struck out, but Matt Joyce then walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded Ronald Acuna Jr. then took a walk of his own to force in Fried and give the Braves a 4-3 lead.
Sadly Albies rolled into a fielders choice and the Braves could pad their lead no more. Atlanta turned the game over to new closer Shane Greene.
Greene then proceeded to have the worst luck inning ever as he allowed a two soft singles to start the inning. Then Josh VanMeter tapped a ball off the plate back to the pitcher and Greene only had one play at first base. Greene was able to induce a popup by Tucker Barnhart, but it landed in between three guys in left field to allow Jose Iglesias to score and tie the game. Greene got out of it, but very easily could’ve been looking at his first save with just some better luck.
Nevertheless Atlanta took the field in the bottom of the ninth against the Reds closer Rasiel Iglesias. Iglesias made quick work of the Braves and the game made its way into extra innings.
In fitting fashion Luke Jackson then struck out the side in the top of the 10th inning and made it look easy.
The Reds turned to Jared Hughes who got into some trouble quickly by walking Adam Duvall to lead off the bottom of the inning. He didn’t help himself from there as he walked Ender Inciarte as well and allowed Johan Camargo to get down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with just one out.
The Braves turned to Charlie Culberson looking for a some more of his late inning magic, but he could not deliver leaving things up to Acuna. Acuna obliged by nailing a slider down the left field line for the 5-4 win.
Aside from some bad luck for Shane Greene in the ninth, Atlanta really looked strong in this game from first pitch to last. They will look to win the series outright tomorrow. Stay tuned.