Rookie right-hander Tyrell Jenkins put the Braves in an early hole against the Reds but they immediately came back to forge a tie. Gordon Beckham’s home run gave the Braves a two-run lead in the seventh inning but right-hander Jim Johnson blew it in the ninth.
After all of that, the Braves finally found a way to win.
Ender Inciarte hit a sacrifice fly for a 5-4 lead in the 11th inning and the Braves held on to beat the Reds. The Braves (33-61) evened the season series 3-3 against the Reds (35-59) and look to win it in Wednesday’s final meeting.
Nick Markakis started the rally in the 11th with a lead-off single against Reds lefty Tony Cingrani. He went to third on Jeff Francoeur’s single against right-hander Blake Wood and scored when Inciarte hit a fly ball to deep center field.
“I was just trying to (do) the simple part where I know I can hit it and bring that runner in,” Inciarte said.
Rookie right-hander Mauricio Cabrera ended the game by striking out Zack Cozart with a 101-mph fastball. Cabrera earned his first career win in his 10th appearance.
“He just keeps pitching those stressful innings and it doesn’t bother him a bit,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “The expression never changes, he just keeps throwing and pitching. I’ve been very impressed with his makeup, his mound presence, the way he goes about it. He’s going to get better and better.”
Beckham’s homer gave the Braves a 4-2 lead that they held until the ninth. Johnson allowed a lead-off single to Eugenio Suarez and Ramon Cabrera followed with a double. Tucker Barnhart’s ground out scored a run and then Cozart’s RBI single tied the game 4-4.
Speedy Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton followed with an infield single, prompting Braves interim manager Brian Snitker to call on lefty reliever Hunter Cervenka. Cervenka caught Hamilton trying to steal second to end the inning.
The Braves had a scoring chance in the 10th when third baseman Adonis Garcia singled with one out but lefty Cingrani picked him off first base. Snitker went out to argue the play and umpire Angel Hernandez ejected him.
“I thought it was a balk,” Snitker said. “You can’t argue that.”
Jay Bruce staked Reds lefty Cody Reed to a first-inning lead with a two-run homer against Jenkins. Lorenzen replaced Reed for the seventh and walked Erick Aybar and struck out Jace Peterson before Beckham hit a first-pitch slider out of the park for his fourth homer of the season.
“I didn’t know I had it,” Beckham said. “I was glad to get it out of there. You never know with me. I hit it in the first row so I’ll take whatever I can get.”
The Braves tied the game in second inning with an assist from Reds fielding blunders and a fortuitous bounce.
Markakis led off with a single and Inciarte reached on an error by third baseman Eugenio Suarez. Reed walked Anthony Recker on four pitches to get to Aybar, who smacked a line drive that caromed off of Reed into right field and scored Markakis. Inciarte scored when right fielder Bruce bobbled the ball while trying to pick it up.