ATLANTA (AP)Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer, Stephen Vogt’s bases-loaded walk in the sixth forced in the go-ahead run and the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 in a matchup of second-place teams on Tuesday night.
Drew Smyly (8-3) recovered after allowing a two-run home run to Aristides Aquino in the second inning. Smyly allowed two runs on only two hits and two walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. The left-hander won his sixth consecutive decision.
”That was a heck of an outing against a really good offensive club,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Will Smith gave up a one-out double to Kyle Farmer in the ninth. Smith walked Eugenio Suarez before pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas hit into a game-ending double play. Smith earned his 23rd save in 26 chances.
Duvall’s homer, his 25th, tied the game in the fourth.
The Braves began the night two games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. The Reds were six games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.
The Braves had six walks and only five hits. Dansby Swanson and Joc Pederson each had two walks.
”It just gives us more opportunities to be able to score runs and do it different ways,” Swanson said. ”Do it with walks, with plate discipline.”
Heath Hembree (2-7) and Amir Garrett combined to walk three batters in the sixth, helping the Braves break a 2-2 tie.
Hembree gave up a single to Austin Riley before walking Swanson. With one out, Garrett issued back-to-back walks to Pederson and Vogt, forcing in a run.
Reds manager David Bell wouldn’t blame the loss on his bullpen.
”You look at the big picture and our pitching allowed three runs tonight,” Bell said. ”So I think the story was more our offense and the pitching the Braves threw against us.”
Reds starter Sonny Gray allowed two runs with eight strikeouts in five innings.
Braves right-hander Luke Jackson walked Suarez with two outs in the seventh before surviving a scare when Shogo Akiyama’s fly ball was caught at the right field wall by Jorge Soler.
Left-hander Tyler Matzek struck out Joey Votto on a called third strike to end the eighth with runners on first and second.
The Reds’ eighth was extended when they successfully appealed the call on the field that pinch-runner Tyler Naquin was forced out at first base on Tyler Stephenson’s lineout to Swanson at shortstop. The call was overturned when the replay showed Naquin beat Swanson’s throw to first base.
Reds: OF/IF Nick Senzel (left knee inflammation) has played five games in the outfield and one at DH in his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. Bell said Senzel will see time in the infield while playing two or three more games before being activated. Bell said RHP Tejay Antone (right forearm strain) needs ”a few more” rehab games after feeling no pain in his first outing with Louisville.
Braves: Snitker said C Travis d’Arnaud (left thumb strain) is expected to be activated and return to the starting lineup for Wednesday night’s game. … OF Eddie Rosario (abdominal strain), acquired from Minnesota on July 30, began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. … RHP Shane Greene was designated for assignment and LHP A.J. Minter was recalled from Gwinnett. Greene had an 8.47 ERA in 19 games. … 1B Freddie Freeman (upper respiratory infection) returned after missing one start and exiting after the first inning of another game.
Garrett has a 6.42 ERA and has issued 24 walks in 33 2/3 innings. He said he’s thinking too much on the mound.
”It’s an uphill battle for me right now with the walks and everything,” Garrett said. ”… I’ve got to go back to not thinking, just throw the ball over the plate and let my pitches work. … Whatever happens, happens.”
The attendance was 24,432. The Braves, who began allowing full capacity on May 7, before many teams, began the night leading the majors in total home attendance (1,644,081) and average per game (29,358).
The Reds will send LHP Wade Miley (9-4, 2.75) to the mound to face Braves RHP Touki Toussaint (1-2, 4.43) on Wednesday. Miley is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in seven career games, including six starts, against Atlanta. Toussaint will look for his first win since his first start of 2021 on July 20. He will be making his first career start against the Reds.
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