The Braves drop their third consecutive road series by losing the series finale 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds. This was a game that felt throughout like the Braves would find a way to win. However, they are still waiting on the big hit to come. It seems that the Braves as a team have been doing a lot of waiting here lately.
Offensively the Braves could only muster four hits on the day against Reds starter Edinson Volquez and four relievers. They did have ample base runners thanks in large part to seven walks by the Reds staff. The Braves were undone though by going 1-10 with runners in scoring position and ended up stranding eleven base runners.
Tommy Hanson deserved a much better fate as he snapped back to form by pitching 7.1 innings and allowing only five hits and one earned run while striking out five. Hanson was cruising along with a 1-0 lead thanks to Alex Gonzalez‘s first home run in a Braves uniform.
Then in the fifth inning Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez singled with one out. Hanson then retired pinch hitter Johnny Gomes on a liner to right. Brandon Phillips stepped to the plate and pushed a long fly ball to right that Jason Heyward could not make a diving catch on. The play resulted in a triple for Phillips and the game tied at 1-1. Next batter Orlando Cabrera then hit a ground ball to shortstop Gonzalez who had the ball kick up out of his glove. By the time he recovered Cabrera was safe at first and Phillips had scored giving the Reds the lead 2-1.
Omar Infante got the start at 2nd for the injured Martin Prado and had two hits. Besides Gonzalez’s home run, Jason Heyward had the only other Braves hit with a hustle double in the top of the ninth inning. Rick Ankiel made his debut in Center Field and promptly went 0-3 with a walk. He did hit two balls sharply one of which Cabera made an outstanding play on up the middle to rob him of a hit.
With that the Braves wrap up a 3-6 road trip that saw them lose three series in a row. With Philadelphia’s victory over the Washington Nationals, the Braves lead is down to 2.5 games. They will now limp home to open a seven game home stand against the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. Hopefully friendlier surroundings will help jump start an offense that has been non-existent as of late.