Braves vs. Reds: Sean Murphy makes his presence felt back and forth

Shaun Murphy brought the A-Game to the plate tonight. The latest mask for Atlanta Braves He had two doubles in the first nine innings of this game and then capped it off with a home run in the tenth inning. His homer helped power the Braves to a 5-4 series-opening victory over the Cincinnati Reds.



The game started eerily similarly for both teams. In the top of the first inning, Jonathan India singled, TJ Friedel walked and then Jake Fraley hit a double play before Tyler Stevenson ended Bryce Elder’s scoreless inning. In the bottom of the first inning, Ronald Acuna Jr. singled, Matt Olson walked, and Austin Riley grounded the double play before Shaun Murphy ended Graham Ashcraft’s scoreless inning. That ended up being an omen for both shooters, as we ended up getting shooters dueling for the vast majority of this game.

While it was hard to say that either Elder or Ashcraft were truly dominant in this one, it was safe to say that both teams were having a hard time capitalizing on their opportunities while the rookies were there. The Braves in particular continued what was a half-hearted run at the plate when it came to having runners in the scoring position. Shaun Murphy was stranded at second base several times and Atlanta had two chances that were promptly wiped out due to a double ground ball. Graham Ashcraft was shown as advertised in this, as the Braves couldn’t hit the ball hard against their eclectic arsenal of pitches.

That was with a few exceptions – Ronald Acuna Jr. got two hits against Ashcraft and then there was the aforementioned Shaun Murphy. It was the first time they were stranded after being stranded twice in the fourth inning. The next time came in the sixth inning, except this time there was a man already on base when Murphy hit a double down the Ashcraft line. Austin Riley started the play at first base and by the time he got to third base, Ron Washington got aggressive and gave Riley the go-ahead to go home. Riley did, the throw from left field was out of line and The Braves had hacked their way in for the first time in the game.

The seventh inning ended up being pivotal, as it was as far as Bryce Elder got in that inning. He got one in that frame before finally bowling and handing the game over to Jesse Chavez with man still on base. Chavez continued to work in style and got the next two outs to finish the frame and ensure Elder finished the night with 6.1 scoreless innings under his belt. While Elder gave up six hits on this one, he struck out seven and stopped walking only once, so he was able to work his way out of whatever trouble he found himself in. Elder has continued to get the job done at the major league level And it would be shocking if he didn’t get another start once he had his turn.

The top of the seventh went softly to a Braves pitcher—the same couldn’t be said of a Reds pitcher, as Graham Ashcraft also reached the end of the streak in the seventh. He walked Orlando Arcia to lead off the inning and make way for Buck Farmer, who faced three batters and was out after Ronald Acuña Jr. had his third touchdown of the game. Then River Sanmartin got the ball, Matt Olson quickly walked four straight pitches to load the bases and then threw a wild pitch with Austin Riley at the plate to make it 2-0 Braves. It was pretty clear that Atlanta were fighting for points at this point in the game, so you can imagine they wouldn’t complain. Only one get run from this very position.

It ended up being a significant run, as the Reds finally got on the board in the top of the eighth. Jonathan India hit a two-out single that would have easily been a homer over the short fence in left field if it were a few feet higher. Then Jake Fraley got the double with a two-out single to right to make it 2-1, but Nick Anderson was able to walk out of the inning without giving up any more damage from that point.

The Braves had a chance in the bottom of the eighth to add some insurance before the ninth, and they finally got the job done. Ozzie Albies was able to hit a grilder that popped off Jose Barrero’s glove at shortstop, reaching second after Marcell Ozuna hit a tight hit that was too slow into a double play but good enough to move Ozzie to second base. A melancholy volley paid off, as Orlando Arcia managed to take a ball that was low and out of the area from River Sanmartín and slot it into left center for a volley. Some much needed insurance.

This ultimately meant that AJ Minter was poised to come to the rescue with a two-stage lead to play with. Unfortunately, things went sideways in Minter’s haste as it only took the Reds 11 pitches to tie the game. Will Myers led off the inning with a single and then Stuart Fairchild hit a leadoff drive to left field He almost left the park. She stayed in the park after Kevin Pillar made an attempt to jump the wall to catch her, but was only able to push her into the fence with his glove. Sadly, Fairchild was still on third base with an RBI triple and then Spencer Steer accidentally hit shallow right center field to tie the game at three runs apiece. Minter then got another double play and ground ball to end the inning, but it was very disappointing to see this game reach the bottom of the ninth.

It was even more disappointing to see the game go into extra innings. Heading into tonight’s contest, the Braves have been 13-19 in overtime games since the zombie runner rule was in place. They are now 14-19 after Sean Murphy took the first pitch he saw from Derek Law and sent it 408 feet and over the fence in center field for a zinger. Murphy’s first Homer dressed as the brave He came in at a great time and the Braves found themselves in the “win” column for the first time since Thursday night.

It might not be the Braves’ sweetest win, but if you’re in a game-three slide while also being in the ice-cold grip of a nasty hit bug, you’ll get the wins any way you can get your hands on it. Bryce Elder did a great job of keeping the Reds off the scoreboard while he was in the game, and the Braves as a whole have continued to live up to their reputation of never rolling. You’ll never forget your first home run with a new team, and it’ll be incredibly hard to forget Sean Murphy’s first homer in a Braves uniform.

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