Five takeaways from the Braves’ 3-2 win over the Reds in Cincinnati on Friday night:

1. Returning to the lineup after being sidelined for three days with a sore wrist, Braves center fielder Guillermo Heredia more than made up for missed time. He had two extra-base hits, including a home run, and made the most important defensive play of the game.

“Amazing, man,” Braves starting pitcher Drew Smyly said of Heredia’s performance. “I know he’s been itching to get back in the lineup. Game-saving catch out there in center field, went deep (and) had a double, too -- he’s a great player. He brings so much energy to our club. I’m sure people can hear it on TV, him screaming all the time in the dugout. He definitely brings a lot of life to this team.”

2. With the Braves leading 3-2, Heredia made a terrific running catch in the eighth inning on a leadoff line drive to deep center by Cincinnati’s Jesse Winker. Heredia held the ball as he crashed into the wall. He initially appeared to be injured, but remained in the game with a smile on his face after being checked by trainers.

“As soon as I saw the ball hit, I just took off running, and I never did feel like I wasn’t going to be able to catch it,” Heredia said through an interpreter. “As soon as I caught the ball, I lowered my arm a little bit, and I think that (resulted in) my stomach making a deep impact with the wall. It just knocked the wind out of me. It felt like I was a boxer, to be honest, like I was getting hit in the boxing ring.”

3. Smyly pitched extremely well. He held the Reds to one run on six hits in six innings, leaving with a 3-1 lead. He allowed neither a walk nor a home run, his first start since 2015 in which he could claim that dual distinction. The game extended a string of strong outings by Smyly, who has a 1.62 ERA across his past three starts (three runs and no homers allowed in 16-2/3 innings).

“I can tell by the swings of hitters that the ball is coming out of my hand better,” Smyly said. “It’s jumping on them. It has that late life, like I used to have. I got away from that a little bit early in the season, but I feel like I’ve been able to turn it around and get on a little roll.”

4. The Braves built a 3-1 lead against Reds rookie starter Vladimir Gutierrez on an RBI double by Freddie Freeman in the fifth inning (his second double of the game), a solo home run by Dansby Swanson in the sixth inning (his 13th homer of the season) and a solo homer by Heredia in the seventh.

5. Three Braves relievers held the lead. Luke Jackson surrendered a solo homer to Eugenio Suarez in the seventh inning, trimming the lead to 3-2. A.J. Minter pitched a scoreless eighth despite two hits, and Will Smith recorded his 16th save with a scoreless ninth despite a two-out double.


“As long as it took me to get out there, he could have healed from an injury. That’s what I told him. I said, ‘Wait a minute, we’re not going anywhere, because I need to regroup. You’re feeling good, that’s great, but I need a couple of minutes here before I try to make that trek back.’ (Abraham) Almonte asked if I needed an Uber.” -- Braves manager Brian Snitker on his trip to the center-field wall to check on Guillermo Heredia after he crashed into the wall

By the numbers

.256: Freddie Freeman’s season-high batting average after going 2-for-5 Friday and 8-for-14 in his past three games

Next up

The Braves and Reds will meet again at 4:10 p.m. Saturday in Cincinnati. Right-hander Ian Anderson (5-3, 3.33 ERA) will start for the Braves and right-hander Luis Castillo (2-10, 5.83) for the Reds. Castillo has the most losses of any MLB pitcher this season.