The Braves ended a nine game road trip in style on Sunday, routing the Reds in Cincinnati 13-8. In a game that featured a combined 26 hits and six home runs, the standout performance came from Atlanta's center fielder and All-Star hopeful, Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte continued his hot streak from the month of May, today going five for five with a home run and raising his batting average to. 299 in the process.
Inciarte's heroics were not just limited to the bat, however. The 2016 Gold Glove winner pulled off yet another remarkable catch in the 8th inning to rob Jose Peraza of a likely double. With so much competition for the National League's 3 starting outfield spots in next month's All-Star game in Miami, Inciarte's performance today will have done his chances no harm whatsoever.
"When you have a game like this, it of course feels good," Inciarte said. "But you try not to think about it because tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow, you shouldn't even be thinking about what happened today."
Though if the Braves are to find one of their outfielders in the All-Star game, it is likely to be veteran, Matt Kemp, who has been a one-man wrecking crew in recent weeks. Kemp however, missed out in the hit-fest today, going 0-6. He still leads the Braves in batting average with. 335.
Julio Teheran took to the mound for the Braves, hoping to extend his 2017 road success. Teheran was 3-0 on the road with a 1.42 ERA coming into this game, compared with 1-4 and a 8.40 ERA at home. However Teheran struggled to make an impact and was tagged for 7 earned runs for the 3rd time in his past 9 starts. Nonetheless, Teheran was the pitcher of record, thanks to Inciarte and the Braves' offensive outburst.
"Teheran got just a little flat," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "When he made mistakes, they made him pay. You can't make mistakes here. He just wasn't real sharp like he had been. Fortunately, we scored enough runs today to cover it up."
The Braves chased Reds rookie starter, Amir Garrett after just 2 2/3 innings. Down 2-1 following Zack Cozart's two-run home run in the first, Danny Santana hit his first home run as a Brave, a two-run shot that scored Tyler Flowers and gave Atlanta the lead in the top of the second. Matt Adams hit his third home run in less than 24 hours in the top of the third before Inciarte smashed a 406 foot 3-run shot over the right-center field wall to end Garrett's short outing.
Atlanta padded its lead by a couple in each of the 5th and 9th innings, which proved valuable insurance as Cincinnati refused to lie down. Arismendy Alcantara picked up his first home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning before Cozart hit his second homer and fifth RBI of the day an inning later.
"It's good to have an offensive day because there is no lead that is safe here," Snitker said. "I've just been a part of too many weird games in this ballpark. So, it was good that we just kept adding on."
It has been a difficult road trip at times for the Braves. A series defeat in San Francisco was followed by another in Anaheim and a blown save, extra-inning loss on Friday to open the series in Cincinnati. Yet Snitker's team showed tremendous resilience to take Saturday night's 12 inning thriller and end the road trip 4-5 with today's win.
The Braves now head back to Atlanta six games under. 500 and in second place in the East. They start a four game series vs Philadelphia on Monday before the New York Mets arrive for the weekend (and Bartolo Colon bobblehead night).
June 5th 2017