The Cincinnati Reds had been winning series of late and gaining momentum while the lineup was hitting with more production. But on Saturday night, Braves rookie pitcher David Hale quieted the bats in a big way.
Cincinnati was completely shut down after a first-inning run off Hale while Mike Leake gave up three homers during a 4-1 defeat to the Braves at Turner Field. With back-to-back losses in Atlanta, the Reds’ three-series win streak is no more, but they can still go home with a winning 6-4 road trip with a win in today’s series finale.
“As far as I noted, we had five balls that we hit hard today. That’s not a lot,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of Hale. “He did a nice job. He never really gave us a chance to create a rally.”
There were only two hits produced by the Reds in the game and both came in the first inning.
Following Brandon Phillips‘ two-out single and Jay Bruce‘s walk, Ryan Ludwick just missed a three-run homer with a drive off the center-field wall. It went for an RBI double instead and 1-0 Reds lead.
What made Hale so tough?
“I don’t know,” Ludwick replied. “He did a good job. I can’t pinpoint one thing. Outstanding job. We didn’t have a lot of baserunners. What did we have, two hits? So he threw a no-hitter, or they did [after the first]. Just not a lot of offense.”
“I was trying to go in,” Leake said. “I don’t know how he hit it. It was up and almost at his neck.”
In the third, Freeman sent a drive to left field and lost his second homer of the night when Ludwick made a nice leaping catch above the fence. Justin Upton crushed a pitch for a homer into the right-field seats. Evan Gattis made it back-to-back homers by sending the ball out to left field.
Leake finished with four runs and eight hits allowed over seven innings. He did not walk any batters and struck out four. The three homers he gave up tied a career high.
“Pitches were left where they could hit it, mistakes,” Leake said. “I don’t know if Freddie’s was a mistake as much as good hitting. It was a tough pitch to do what he did. The other two were center-cut mistakes.”