The Cincinnati Reds managed just two hits on Sunday afternoon as six Atlanta Braves pitchers combined to shut them out and split the series at Great American Ball Park.
|Atlanta Braves (37-40)
|Cincinnati Reds (38-38)
|W: Muller (1-1) L: Mahle (7-3)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread
There wasn’t much that the Cincinnati Reds offense did on the day against Atlanta Braves #5 prospect and big left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller. He held the team to just one hit and two walks in 5.0 shutout innings while striking out nine Reds hitters.
In the bottom of the 7th inning the Reds got their first base runner against the Atlanta bullpen with Eugenio Suárez walked. With two outs Jesse Winker came off of the bench to pinch hit, but the Braves countered by bringing in left-handed reliever A.J. Minter. The move didn’t work as Minter walked Winker on four pitches to put two men on for Scott Heineman, who’s blooper was the only Cincinnati hit in the game to that point. Heineman and Minter battled for an 8-pitch at-bat, but it ended in a ground out to third base to end the inning and strand the runners to keep the Braves up 4-0.
Mike Freeman led off the 8th inning with a single to try and get the Reds offense moving late in the game. With one out Joey Votto crushed the ball to center but Ender Inciarte tracked down the ball at the warning track before crashing into the wall. That left things up to Nick Castellanos, but he came up empty as he struck out swinging to end the inning and send the game to the 9th.
Trailing 4-0 and entering the bottom of the 9th inning the Reds had the middle of their order due up. Tyler Stephenson hit one 379 feet, but that was into center field and not quite enough as Guillermo Heredia tracked it down for the first out. Eugenio Suárez struck out for the second out of the inning. That left things up to Tyler Naquin to keep the game going. He didn’t, striking out on three pitches to end the game.
Tyler Mahle cruised through the first two innings as he faced the minimum. But things turned in the 3rd inning after he hit leadoff batter Guillermo Heredia. At first it seemed he may get around it after striking out the next two batters, but Ronald Acuña Jr. doubled in Heredia and then he scored on a Freddie Freeman single.
In the 5th inning Tyler Mahle had a fastball get away from him and it came in high and tight against Ronald Acuña Jr. before throwing three straight pitches out of the zone. But the fifth pitch of the at-bat was sent 432 feet and almost through the batters eye in center. An inning later it was Austin Riley who got to Mahle with another solo homer to make it a 4-0 game.
Art Warren came out for the 7th inning and he struck out the side on 13 pitches, getting Ronald Acuña Jr. to swing through a 97 MPH fastball to end the inning. Sean Doolittle entered for the 8th inning and after getting Freddie Freeman to fly out, Ozzie Albies doubled into left. Austin Riley saw 10 pitches but popped up to short on the final one. Doolittle intentionally walked Dansby Swanson and got to face pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza with two on and two out. It was the right move as Adrianza popped out in foul territory to Joey Votto to end the inning.
Freshly called up from Triple-A, Cionel Pérez came on for the top of the 9th. He struck out Guillermo Heredia to lead off the inning to great cheers from the fans as it was the 11th strikeout of the game which means free pizza for 2,000 fans. Pérez followed up with his second straight strikeout on three pitches. Ender Inciarte battled a bit more than the previous two hitters, but he popped up on the 5th pitch of his at-bat to end the inning and send the game to the bottom of the 9th where the Reds would need at least four runs to keep the game going. They didn’t get them.
Notes Worth Noting
Tyler Mahle didn’t exactly struggle on Sunday, but he didn’t pitch well, either. His home and road splits continue to be large. Including his outing this afternoon his home ERA (6 starts) now sits at 6.75, while his road ERA (10 starts) is 2.01.
Jeff Hoffman made his second rehab appearance in Triple-A Louisville on Sunday afternoon. He threw 4.0 shutout innings while allowing just two hits and striking out six batters.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Philadelphia Phillies vs Cincinnati Reds
Monday June 28th, 6:40pm ET
TBA vs Wade Miley (6-4, 2.88 ERA)