While the sports world was fixated on Nashville for the NFL draft, the Braves were battling through storms to complete their series in Cincinnati.
Unfortunately for them, the rain-stalled affair ended with a loss. The Braves were unable to score off emerging Reds starter Luis Castillo and couldn’t mount a rally following a two hour and 42-minute delay, dropping the finale 4-2 on Thursday night. They broke even on their Ohio road trip (3-3).
Just before the rain made playing conditions unfit, the Braves had their golden opportunity: Ronald Acuna, Brian McCann and Johan Camargo each singled to load the bases with none out in the seventh. The Reds replaced Castillo with David Hernandez.
Then came the defining at-bats. Dansby Swanson struck out on five pitches; Ender Inciarte did so in just three. Pinch-hitter Ozzie Albies, replacing starter Julio Teheran, struck out as the stadium began clearing out.
Three straight singles, three straight strikeouts. Eight hits, no runs through seven innings.
“That was tough, that inning,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We had a couple opportunities. We just couldn’t get a big hit or put the ball in play. We had our chances.”
Following the delay, Freddie Freeman launched a two-run home run to pull the Braves within a run. The bats were nonthreatening from there, and the Braves lost their seventh series in Cincinnati in their last 11 trips.
Teheran pitched the perfectly average line – six innings, allowing three runs – and it wasn’t enough without his offense’s support. He sailed through two innings, striking out four, but it was Castillo’s base hit that loomed.
The Reds’ starter singled before Joey Votto drew a walk. Eugenio Suarez singled on a line drive to left, scoring Castillo, but Suarez was thrown out to end the inning. The underrated third baseman’s two-run double in the bottom of the fifth pushed Cincinnati’s lead to 3-0.
“Other than Suarez, he threw the ball really well,” Snitker said of Teheran, who struck out seven. “Even three runs here is very doable. You give up three runs at (Great American Ball Park), I’m glad we got the game started back. I felt like with that deficit, we had a chance.”
In all, the Braves’ latest road trip will be remembered for the seven-run comeback in Cleveland. As good as that series felt for the club, the ensuing trio in Cincinnati will be recalled for its missed chances.
The Braves begin another homestand Friday, starting with a visit from the Colorado Rockies. Max Fried starts Game 1.
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