Had enough Atlanta Braves pitching duels, yet? Well, you got another one as Julio Teheran clashed with Johnny Cueto on Sunday afternoon. Coming into this series, Cincinnati had won 3 in a row, and 7 of their last 10. The Braves cooled them off all series at the plate, allowing only 5 runs in the first two games. Both starting pitchers kept the opposing lineups scoreless for 8 innings, and allowed only 3 hits each. To say that Teheran and Cueto were dominant would be an understatement. It really reminded me of the game on Tuesday when Wood took on Fernandez of Miami. Except in that case, a run in the 4th was the difference for Miami. In fact, the most action of the game happened in the first inning, when the Reds manager was ejected for arguing a replay challenge that he lost.
The bullpens for both teams took the rubber in the 9th inning, but neither offense would push across any runs. That would mean the game would go to extras. Is there anything more frustrating as a baseball fan than an extra innings scoreless game? This isn’t soccer. We didn’t sign up for this. It almost makes me long for the days when hitters were injecting themselves with elephant hormones. However, the Braves and the Reds were struggling all day making contact. So, we got some free baseball on a lazy Sunday afternoon in April. The weather was perfect for it, and it was Bark in the Park Day so I’m sure the dogs didn’t mind at all. Also, apparently if you own a wiener dog and put it in a Braves jersey, you will win the Braves fan photo contest on TV. Science fact.
David Carpenter struggled in the 10th inning, giving up 2 singles to put the Reds in business with 2 outs. That sent Fredi Gonzalez to the bullpen again to get Ian Thomas. That’s a key appearance for Thomas, and it shows a lot of trust from the manager to get the Braves out of a tie-game jam. Ian delivered by getting Roger Bernandina to pop out to first, ending the inning. The Braves did the same thing in the bottom of the 10th, Jason Heyward and BJ Upton getting on base with two outs. That would force the Reds to make a pitching change to Manny Parra. Wrong move, Reds. Freddie Freeman belted a shot to deep center that 1-hopped the fence, winning the game for the Braves in a 1-0 walkoff! Timely too, because it started to rain 5 minutes after the win.
Braves went 1-4 with RISP, and the one that mattered was Freddie Freeman’s. The Reds went 0-6 with RISP, and that was the difference. Both starters got a no-decision, and Ian Thomas got the win for escaping the 10th inning jam. All around, not a bad day at the ballpark. There’s no such thing as a boring sweep!
Braves take on the Marlins in Miami on Tuesday. Guess who’s pitching? Jose Fernandez against Alex Wood. Fernandez has never lost at home, so the Braves will be looking to make a little history. Let’s hope they do.