Wild pitch sends Braves past Reds
CINCINNATI -- An Aroldis Chapman wild pitch scored Phil Gosselin in the top of the ninth inning, proving to be the difference in a 2-1 victory for the Braves over the Reds on Monday at Great American Ball Park.
Following Sunday's walk-off defeat vs. the White Sox, Chapman has suffered losses on back-to-back days for only the third time in his career. With one out in the ninth inning of a 1-1 game, Gosselin delivered a pinch-hit single through the middle and Nick Markakis followed with a single to center field. Andrelton Simmons was batting when Gosselin stole third base. Freddie Freeman was up when Chapman's 0-1 pitch, a 103-mph fastball, sailed outside and past the glove of Tucker Barnhart. The catcher slipped and fell as he retrieved the ball, preventing a play at the plate.
"They're getting the ball in the air and through the infield -- not a lot of extra-base damage but singles," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "They took advantage of his slower delivery to steal third base. Things we have to work on, for sure, because we can't just give away third base there."
The Braves snapped a three-game losing streak while the Reds have dropped three in a row. Both teams have identical 15-17 records. Reliever Luis Avilan earned the victory for Atlanta with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth inning.
It was a no-decision night for both starting pitchers. Braves starter Shelby Miller pitched seven innings and allowed one run and three hits, while Reds starter Mike Leake gave up one run and eight hits over six innings.
The game began following a one-hour, 40-minute rain delay.
"The offense came around in the ninth against one of the best closers in the game, which is pretty special," said Miller. "So, you tip your cap to them. We made some nice plays and got out of some jams. We needed this win bad."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Small ball prevails: The three singles the Braves registered in the ninth inning equaled the hit total Chapman had surrendered in his previous 11 2/3 innings against the Braves. Before sparking the rally with a one-out single, Gosselin had recorded four hits in the 13 at-bats he had totaled dating back to April 22. The one-run advantage was preserved by Jim Johnson, who notched the save in place of closer Jason Grilli, who has battled a sore back over the past three days. More >
Mowed 'em down: After Leake departed with 101 pitches, lefty reliever Tony Cingrani took the top of the seventh and struck out the side. Facing Simmons, Freeman and pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes, Cingrani threw 16 pitches -- all fastballs. His hardest pitch was strike three to Gomes at 95 mph.
Miller regains his groove: Coming off of last week's three-hit shutout against the Phillies, Miller allowed the Reds to load the bases before he recorded his first out of the second inning. But he minimized the damage to Barnhart's sacrifice fly and began a streak in which he retired 15 straight before issuing Brandon Phillips a leadoff walk in the seventh. Phillips was left stranded at third when Miller finished his 100-pitch night with a Skip Schumaker groundout. More >
Scoreless streak over: Leake's scoreless streak of 19 innings came to an end in the top of the fourth when Simmons hit an 0-2 pitch to left-center for a leadoff homer and a 1-0 Braves lead. Leake encountered more trouble in the same inning, with three more hits loading the bases with one out. But he escaped without more Atlanta runs crossing. Leake finished with one earned run and eight hits over his six innings with two walks and one strikeout.
"They had a better approach today," said Leake, who pitched eight scoreless innings at Atlanta on April 30. "They were a lot more aggressive early in counts today, so it made me be a little more choosey with my pitches on the plate. They made me throw a few extra pitches. They had a better plan. And it showed."
"First pitch, [Chapman] was slow, so I decided if he does it again, I'm going to take my shot and go for it. I got a good jump. I almost fell halfway there, but luckily I stayed on my feet and got in there." -- Gosselin, on his steal of third base in the ninth inning
"We had chances to win that game and didn't do anything to win that game. We have to go out and take that victory. We had some opportunities early to pick up a run here and there and it didn't happen. You end up getting in a situation where you make one mistake and it costs you the game. That's what happened today. We just didn't play very well." -- Price, on Monday's loss
The Braves proved unsuccessful with their challenge that Barnhart was blocking the plate when A.J. Pierzynski attempted to score on Miller's bases-loaded fielder's choice with one out in the sixth inning. Though the plate-blocking rule was challenged, the umpires also reviewed whether Barnhart had applied his shoulder-high tag before Pierzynski touched the plate and confirmed the initial ruling.
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz will attempt to notch his third consecutive win when Atlanta and Cincinnati resume their three-game series on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Foltynewicz limited the Reds to three runs (two earned) over five innings during his first Major League start on May 1.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani will get the start for Cincinnati and try to halt a trend he hasn't been happy with. All of DeSclafani's last three starts have lasted only five innings. In those 15 innings, he has given up 11 walks while he and the Reds have gone 0-3.
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