The Cincinnati Reds lose another one run game, but this one could cost them, because two of their core players left the game with injuries.
Left fielder Justin Upton hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the Braves held on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 at Turner Field on Friday night.
Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth inning by giving up a walk and single before rebounding to get the final three outs.
The Braves could not celebrate, though, until a video review of more than two minutes confirmed that Freddie Freeman had held first base on a wide throw from third baseman Chris Johnson to retire Reds first baseman Joey Votto for the final out.
Braves starter Ervin Santana, was charged with four runs and nine hits as he almost let a five-run lead disappear. He struck out seven and walked one as the Reds figured him out, the third time around the lineup.
Although Santana allowed four hits in the first three innings, he blanked the Reds until the sixth. A walk, a double by second baseman Brandon Phillips and a single by right fielder Jay Bruce opened the inning, but Santana was able to keep the damage to two runs thanks to a double play.
After speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton turned a two-out hit that scored catcher Devin Masoraco into a double in the seventh, Santana was pulled in favor of lefty Luis Avilan with Votto coming up. The first baseman singled to make it a one-run game.
Mesoraco strained a hamstring rounding third on Votto’s hit and had to leave the game after limping home. Third baseman Todd Frazier had come out in the fifth because of tightness in his left leg, the last thing this team needs is more injuries.
Reds starter Homer Bailey, signed to a six-year extension worth $105 million during the offseason, had his fourth wobbly start in five outings. The right-hander, who allowed nine hits and five runs in six innings, is 1-2 with a 6.15 ERA.
In the first inning, Braves right fielder Jason Heyward easily nailed Votto at the plate with a strong throw, turning a potential sacrifice fly into a double play.
The Braves took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Justin Upton picked on a misplaced 2-2 changeup from Bailey and smashed his sixth homer of the season over the fence in left-center field after singles by brother B.J. Upton and Freddie Freeman.
Heyward had a two-out RBI single in the second after a double by shortstop Andrelton Simmons. In the third, Braves catcher Evan Gattis drove in Freeman with a bloop hit.
Reds now 5-3 in their current 10 game road trip, and are back to one game under .500 at (11-12). The two teams are back it tomorrow night for game 2 of the series, Mike Leake will be on the mound for Cincinnati. First pitch is at 7:10pm.