In the Cincinnati Reds first postseason appearance since 2013 they got a start to remember for the rest of the franchise history. Trevor Bauer set a franchise record for strikeouts in a playoff game, fanning 12 in 7.2 shutout innings. But Atlanta starter Max Fried matched him in the runs allowed category through 7.0 innings of his own before handing the game over to the bullpen. From there it became a relief battle between two bullpens that came into the day absolutely rolling.
It was the Braves bullpen that won out, eventually, but the Reds have no one to blame but their offense, who failed miserably time after time after time when they got men on base throughout the afternoon before Freddie Freeman walked off the game with a single in the bottom of the 13th.
|Cincinnati Reds (0-1)
|Atlanta Braves (1-0)
|W: Minter L: Garrett
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The game got out to what felt like a great start for Cincinnati. Nick Senzel led off with a single on the first pitch. He moved to third base on a single by Nick Castellanos a few pitchers later. And then what has seemed to plague the offense all year happened – Nothing happened. A runner on third base with no outs and the heart of the order couldn’t move him 90 feet.
Trevor Bauer answered with a quick, 7-pitch inning. He didn’t get it as easy the next inning, as a 1-out error by Joey Votto put Ozzie Albies on first, and he’d go on to steal second base to put the go-ahead run into scoring position. Bauer locked in, though, and struck out Adam Duvall and Dansby Swanson to end the inning.
Nick Senzel tried to get things going again with a 1-out single. On a pick off attempt, he dove back to the bag and appeared to jam his shoulder that left him rubbing his left shoulder for a bit and warranted a visit from the training staff. After about a 45 second conversation, Senzel remained in the game and would move up to second base on a passed ball. But like his counterpart in the previous inning, Max Fried worked out of things, getting a fly out and then striking out Joey Votto looking to end the inning.
Trevor Bauer kept things rolling along in the 3rd inning as he struck out the side on 17 pitches, pushing his total to five on the game and Votto’s error aside, keeping a perfect start in tact. Max Fried wasn’t perfect, but he kept his quality outing going with a quick 1-2-3 inning of his own in the bottom half of the inning.
The 4th inning began for Atlanta with Freddie Freeman taking a slider off of the knee to put a runner on 1st. Bauer came back to strike out Marcell Ozuna and then got Travis d’Arnaud to pop up on the infield on the first pitch of the at-bat. He fell behind Ozzie Albies 2-0 on two straight fastballs out of the zone before battling back to even the count, but Albies beat out an infield single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. That brought up former Red Adam Duvall, and Bauer sent him back to the dugout with his bat in hand after leaving him looking at a called strike three to work out of a jam.
Cincinnati went rather quietly again in the top of the 5th, with Max Fried finishing the inning with a pitch count of just 50. Trevor Bauer went about trying to match the left-handed starter and got a strikeout and two ground outs in his half of the inning, finishing with 69 pitches as the inning ended.
The Reds got a 1-out infield single from known speedster Nick Castellanos, who busted it down the line to beat the glove toss to first base by a few inches. Joey Votto followed with a single to left field, but Castellanos was thrown out trying to go 1st to 3rd on a perfect throw by Adam Duvall. Eugenio Suárez came up with two outs and he took strike three on a curveball that had been confusing Reds hitters all day.
Roñald Acuna Jr. led off the bottom of the 6th inning with a thunderous double off of the center field wall, putting the Braves in a good spot to take the lead with the middle of their order coming up. Freddie Freeman grounded out to second base, but moved Acuna over to third base with one out to set up a plethora of ways for Atlanta to take the lead with Marcell Ozuna at the plate. The Reds brought the infield in, but it didn’t matter as Ozuna popped up to catcher Curt Casali for the second out. Bauer then battled back to strike out Travis d’Arnaud and let out a scream as it happened as he was about as fired up as one could possibly be.
Aristides Aquino led off the top of the 7th inning with a single into shallow left. Jesse Winker was then hit by a pitch to put the Reds in position to try and get a run and take the lead. Kyle Farmer came up and grounded to third, leading to a force out at second, with Farmer beating the throw to first by inches. It didn’t matter as the TOOTBLAN (thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop) of the century took place with pinch-hitter Matt Davidson at the plate, as Kyle Farmer took off for second base about three seconds later than he should have for a steal and was caught in a rundown, ultimately leading to Aristides Aquino being tagged out on his way home in a rundown that resulted from Farmer trying to keep the play alive long enough.
Trevor Bauer just kept on rolling along. In the bottom of the 7th he got Ozzie Albies to pop up to Kyle Farmer and followed up with two more strikeouts, giving him 11 on the day as he kept the game scoreless.
Max Fried was replaced to begin the inning, with Atlanta going to Chris Martin to face Tucker Barnhart. The new Reds catcher flew out after working a full count. Nick Senzel followed up with a fly out to right field. Nick Castellanos then grounded out to third on a nice sliding play by Austin Riley to end the inning.
Cincinnati stuck with Trevor Bauer to begin the 8th inning. He came out and got Nick Markakis to ground out to begin the inning. Austin Riley battled, but struck out on the 6th pitch of the at-bat. That was the final pitch for Bauer, who left the game after 7.2 shutout innings of 2-hit, no walk, 12 strikeout baseball. David Bell went to the mound and took the ball, then handed it over to Raisel Iglesias with one out to go in the 8th to face off against Roñald Acuna Jr. and the move paid off as Iglesias fanned the Braves young superstar to send the game into the 9th all tied up.
Mark Melancon took over the 9th inning for the Braves and went 1-2-3 against the Reds 2-3-4 hitters, setting up Atlanta for a potential walk-off opportunity. Raisel Iglesias returned for the bottom of the 9th and led off the inning by walking Freddie Freeman to bring up Marcell Ozuna, who led the National League in both home runs and RBI, while also finishing 3rd in average. Ozuna would walk back to the dugout after swinging through a 99 MPH fastball from Iglesias. Travis d’Arnaud then saw three pitches, including a 98 MPH fastball he looked at to end the at-bat and he too walked back to the dugout with his bat in his hand. Ozzie Albies saw five pitches, but swung through a 98 MPH fastball to end the inning and send the game into extras.
The struggles for the Reds offense continued in the 10th as they went in order with two strikeouts and a ground out. Cincinnati turned to Lucas Sims for the bottom of the frame and he got a chance to face the player he was traded for, Adam Duvall. It was a winning match up for the Braves as Adam Duvall didn’t swing once and walked on 6 pitches. Dansby Swanson grounded one to shortstop, but hustled down the line to avoid a double play – but the lead runner was erased on the play for the first out of the inning. With the runner going, Nick Markakis hit a hard grounder at Joey Votto who could only step on first base, placing a runner at second with two outs. Sims came through with a strikeout to end the Braves threat and send the game into the 11th.
Will Smith returned to begin the 11th and got Tucker Barnhart to strikeout before the Braves went to Darren O’Day. He struck out pinch hitter Shogo Akiyama for the second out of the inning. Nick Castellanos wasn’t having the submariner’s games and doubled down the left field line. Joey Votto was intentionally walked to bring Eugenio Suárez to the plate to try and play the righty-vs-righty match up. O’Day walked Suárez to load the bases. Atlanta went to their bullpen to bring in lefty Tyler Matzek for face lefty Mike Moustakas. Advantage Braves, as Matzek struck out Moostakas on three pitches.
Michael Lorenzen took over for Cincinnati to begin the bottom of the 11th inning. Lorenzen fell behind 3-0 to Roñald Acuna Jr., who got the green light on the 4th pitch and he popped that one up on the infield to help moves things along. Freddie Freeman worked a full count before striking out on a change up down and away for the second out of the inning. That brought up Marcell Ozuna, who struck out swinging on a 98 MPH fastball up in the zone to send the game to the 12th.
Aristides Aquino led off the top of the inning with a single. That brought up Jesse Winker to face the lefty Matzek and Winker came through with a single to put runners on the corners – and one of those runners wouldn’t be Winker, who was replaced on the bases by Travis Jankowski. Kyle Farmer came to the plate and would strikeout on a 98 MPH fastball that was at his eyes. That brought up Tucker Barnhart in a lefty-lefty match up. Barnhart squared around to bunt several times, drawing balls to get to a 3-1 count. A fastball came and Barnhart was on top of it, but pulled a liner foul to get to a full count. He would foul off another fastball to extend the at-bat. With Jankowski stealing, Barnhart chased a 99 MPH fastball well outside of the zone for the second out of the inning. Freddy Galvis came in to pinch hit for Shogo Akiyama to avoid another lefty-left match up and try to finally get a hit when they needed it. Galvis didn’t swing once and struck out on four pitches to end the inning.
Michael Lorenzen returned for the 12th and gave up a leadoff single to Travis d’Arnaud, who was then pinch run for. It wouldn’t matter as Ozzie Albies grounded into a force out on the first pitch he saw – but did beat out the return throw to first base. Lorenzen proceeded to strike out Adam Duvall for the 2nd out of the inning. With Dansby Swanson a the plate, a pitch in the dirt bounced off of Tucker Barnhart’s chest put Albies at second base with two outs. It would be inconsequential, if not adding stress, as Lorenzen struck out Swanson to end the inning.
After Nick Castellanos struck out to begin the 13th, Joey Votto lined a single into right field and moved up to second base on a wild pitch to Eugenio Suárez. He came through with a line drive single into left field, but Votto had to hold up to make sure the ball got through and only advanced to third to put runners on the corners and Atlanta went to the bullpen once again, bringing in A.J. Minter to set up a lefty-lefty match up with Mike Moustakas. After a long at-bat, Moustakas took ball four well inside to load the bases for Aristides Aquino with just one out in the inning. The Punisher did no punishing this time, ultimately chasing a pitch out of the zone to go down swinging. That brought up Jose Garcia with all of the pressure in the world on him – he was the final position player on the bench. Garcia swung at the first pitch, shattered his bat, and the Braves got a force out at second base to end the inning.
Archie Bradley entered for the bottom of the 13th and gave up a leadoff single to Nick Markakis on a grounder. He was then pinch run for. Bradley fell behind 3-0 to Austin Riley, who then singled on a liner past a diving Kyle Farmer to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs, bringing Roñald Acuna Jr. to the dish needing a hit to likely win it. Bradley shattered his bat, but the only play was at second for a force out, leading to runners on the corners and one out.
With Freddie Freeman due up, manager David Bell went to Amir Garrett to set up a lefty-on-lefty match up. The Reds also played a 5-man infield, bringing in Nick Castellanos from the outfield and put him at third base, sliding everyone else over. Freeman came through with a line drive single up the middle to walk it off for a Braves win.
Tomorrow’s match up with be do-or-die for the Cincinnati Reds, who will send Luis Castillo to the mound to face off against Ian Anderson and his 1.95 ERA in six starts this season.
Notes Worth Noting
Trevor Bauer set a new playoff franchise record for strikeouts in a game, breaking the record that was previously at 10, set by Homer Bailey in 2012 when he struck out a bunch of San Francisco Giants. Bauer fanned 12 in his 7.2 innings – a record that, ideally, he’ll break the next time out.
That wasn’t the only history made by Bauer, though. He also is the first pitcher in history to record 12 strikeouts without a walk and allow two or fewer hits in postseason history.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 30, 2020
The game was the first one in playoff history to reach the 12th inning without a run being scored.
The total number of strikeouts in the game set a new record. The previous record was 34. There were 37 in this game.
Cincinnati went one for eleventy-billion with runners in scoring position in the game, and the one didn’t result in a run. We did not confirm the eleventy-billion number with Elias, but it sounds like it’s correct.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Atlanta Braves
Game 2 – Thursday, September 30th at 12:08pm ET
Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21 ERA) vs Ian Anderson (3-2, 1.95)