ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman hit the first cycle of the 2016 season on Wednesday night, and Chase d'Arnaud sealed the win with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning to help the Braves outlast the Reds, 9-8, at Turner Field."That was a really special moment," d'Arnaud said. "I
ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman hit the first cycle of the 2016 season on Wednesday night, and Chase d'Arnaud sealed the win with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning to help the Braves outlast the Reds, 9-8, at Turner Field.
"That was a really special moment," d'Arnaud said. "I feel like the adrenaline is still coursing through my veins right now. That was a blast. I wouldn't have had that opportunity if it wasn't for all the hard work from everybody ahead of me getting on base and rallying back."
• Freddie takes a ride on the Free-cycle
The Braves jumped on Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first before adding three unearned runs in the third. The right-hander labored through his second start of the season, throwing 76 pitches in just 2 2/3 innings.
Bud Norris, meanwhile, didn't surrender a hit until Brandon Phillips registered a single during the Reds' three-run fourth. The right-hander ultimately allowed three hits and three runs while issuing two walks and striking out seven batters over five innings. Since returning to Atlanta's starting rotation on June 4, Norris has posted a 2.65 ERA over three starts.
The Braves' bullpen couldn't back up Norris, however, as Casey Kelly entered the game in the sixth and surrendered three more to hand the Reds a 6-5 lead, but Freeman's home run in the bottom of the frame tied the game at 6.
Neither team managed to break the tie over the next six innings, until Reds shortstop Jose Peraza drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 13th. Joey Votto gave Cincinnati a two-run cushion with an RBI single in the ensuing at-bat, but an RBI double by Jace Peterson and an RBI single by Tyler Flowers in the bottom of the frame set the stage for the Braves' second walk-off win of the season.
"I think both teams could have won that game by a handful of runs, but that's baseball," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That's when everybody is executing and everybody is making every play. Unfortunately, baseball isn't played like that all of the time. [It's] tough to take the lead and lose it, but guys were into it, man. Both teams were, and unfortunately we lost late."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Three in the third: The Braves chased DeSclafani with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Peterson hit a grounder to first that allowed Freeman to score on Votto's errant throw home. One out later, Erick Aybar cracked a two-run double to center to give the Braves a 4-0 lead. DeSclafani was lifted after walking the next batter, Norris.
Breaking through: Leading off the top of the sixth, Phillips made his way to second on a single and a throwing error by Adonis Garcia. The Reds capitalized on the mistake, as Jay Bruce singled to bring in Phillips and cut the Braves' lead to 5-4. After Adam Duvall doubled, Ivan De Jesus Jr. gave the Reds their first lead on a two-run single, picking up his second and third RBIs of the game.
Freeman cycles: Freeman struck out in his first at-bat, but he followed up with a double and a triple before blasting a game-tying solo homer to left field in the bottom of the sixth. He struck out in his fifth at-bat in the eighth but got another shot in the 11th, when he singled to center to lead of the frame and complete the cycle.
• DYK: 10 facts about Freeman's 1st cycle
Bullish bullpen: Atlanta threatened to pull ahead in the seventh, 10th and 11th innings, but its efforts were thwarted by Reds relievers J.J. Hoover, JC Ramirez and Tony Cingrani. Hoover surrendered a pair of one-out singles in the seventh before striking out Jeff Francoeur and getting Mallex Smith to fly out to left to escape the inning unscathed.
• Reds bullpen starting to show positives
Three innings later, Smith reached second base, this time on a single off Ramirez and a fielding error by Duvall. But he was stranded once again, as Ramirez recorded his sixth strikeout of the game to end the inning. The Braves' next best chance to win the game came in the 11th, though, after Cingrani loaded the bases with no outs. But a stellar defensive play by catcher Tucker Barnhart, a flyout and a groundout allowed Cingrani to keep the game tied.
• Morris to have shoulder examined
"We put ourselves in a situation where we put all of our cards in and were able to work through it in the [11th] with the five-man infield and Barnhart's play and a great job by Tony Cingrani in that environment," Price said. "But you can't put yourself in that situation too often and think you're going to come back and win those games, or hold on and win those games in this case. We just couldn't pull it out."
The Reds issued a successful challenge when Ender Inciarte was initially awarded an infield single in the fourth inning. After a short review showed Votto tagged Inciarte's left shoulder before he touched first base, the call was overturned.
Cincinnati had another successful challenge in the 12th, after Freeman was called safe at first base on an infield single. But a brief review showed De Jesus Jr.'s throw to first beat Freeman to the bag, and the call was overturned.
Reds:Dan Straily will take the mound on Thursday afternoon for the finale of the four-game series. The right-hander has pitched seven innings in three of his past four starts. Opposing hitters are batting .189 against him during that span and .199 for the season. First pitch at Turner Field is set for 12:10 p.m. ET.
Braves:Matt Wisler will get the ball for Atlanta in the series finale on Thursday at Turner Field. The right-hander has lost his last four starts and posted an 8.14 ERA in that span. It will be the first time Wisler has faced the Reds in his career.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.
Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Reds on Wednesday.