David Hale hit cruise control as the Atlanta Braves played the Cincinnati Reds in game 2 of the series. I wasn’t expecting a lot out of Hale, knowing that he’s likely heading for the bullpen or AAA after this game, but it was nice to see him come out firing on Military Appreciation Night in the Ted. The Braves donned their star-spangled uniforms before unleashing 3 early bombs bursting in air. Even though the Braves fell behind 1-0 early, home runs put the Braves up 4-1 by the end of the third inning.
The story of the night was young David Hale, and he’s my player of the game. After giving up 2 hits and a run in the first inning, Hale faced the minimum through the next 7 innings and didn’t give up a hit. That kind of dominance was a big surprise, given that Hale has struggled with his control and walks. Not an issue tonight. Hale notched 4 Ks, 2 walks, and 1 run in 8 innings of work. In fact, if you missed the first 3 innings, you basically missed the entire game. All the scoring was over and done with by the 4th frame. Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th with a 3 run lead, and despite one walk he blew away the competition for an easy save.
Offensively, Justin Upton had a stellar game, going 3/3 with a walk and a solo homer. Freddie Freeman had a homer with 2 RBIs, and Gattis had just a solo shot of his own that came back to back off Justin’s. One guy that really needed a hit was Chris Johnson, and he did come up with single in the 4th. That’s good because he was mired in a 3/23 slump coming into this game. The other slumping Brave, Jason Heyward, drew an 0-4 collar with a strikeout. Braves as a team went 0-1 with RISP since they did all their damage on the long ball.
That’s another win for the Braves, and another series win! The Braves go for the sweep on Sunday with Julio Teheran facing Johnny Cueto. It’ll be a great pitching match-up to cap off the weekend.