Amir Garrett’s first outing back from a minor hip injury was not pretty. On the other hand Atlanta Braves ace Julio Teheran has had better starts.
In home run happy Great American Ball Park with perfect conditions for fly balls, six home runs were strewn about the bleachers in an 13-8 series-deciding Braves win.
It has been a familiar pattern for the Reds. Awful starting pitching put them in a 9-2 hole after three innings.
"We keep an open line of communication with our position players," Bryan Price said. "They have refused to cave in to these early deficits. It's just not in their DNA. We've comeback and won a couple of these games."
Cozart more than made up for it with his 8th home run, a two-run shot off Teheran in the bottom of the inning.
The Braves added three runs in the second. A two-run home run by Danny Santana erased the Reds’ brief lead. Johan Camargo, giving Brandon Phillips a breather, doubled and scored on the second of Ender Incarte’s five hits.
The third inning was worse for Garrett.
Matt Adams sixth home run of the season and third in 24 hours opened the five-run frame. The Braves loaded the bases with a hit and a couple walks. Teheran, who had three trips to the plate with no official at bats, hit a sacrifice fly. Inciarte’s three-run homer, his sixth, ended Garrett’s brief stint at 2 2/3 innings, of nine-run, eight earned baseball.
"Amir was trying too hard," Price said. "He had the good starts and his change up has come a long way. He's going to learn some things and be a better pitcher for it."
Garrett wasn't shaken by the outing.
"I was trying to do too much with the change up," Garrett said. . "It is easy to fix. I need to get in the bullpen and work on it. I was trying to pronate it a little too much. I'm confident in myself. I'm going to get back on track."
Newly acquired Jake Buchanan, who was picked up on waivers from the Cubs for long relief situations like this, entered the game.
"You can't asked more from Jake Buchanan. He pitched 5 1/3 innings with two runs. He gave us a chance to come back," Price said..
I've pitched five innings in a start before," Buchanan said. (At Cincinnati 9/30/16 5 innings 0 runs). "I didn't realize I was going that long. I was just trying to eat innings. I felt fine. Warming up I was all over the place but once I got on the mound, the adrenaline kicked."
The Reds as is their recent customs made a run at Teheran.
The Reds put two singles together before Teheran stabbed Scooter Gennett’s smash and turned it into a double play in the fourth.
In the fifth, Teheran unwisely walked Eugenio Saurez. Tucker Barnhart doubled with Suarez stopping at third. Bryan Price had no choice but to let Buchanan bat with a bench shortened by shoulder injuries to Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler. Also, Price couldn’t afford to go any deeper into an over used bullpen.
Buchanan surprised all with his first Major League hit, a run scoring single. Cozart tripled after Inciarte missed a diving catch that rolled to the wall. Suddenly, it was 9-5.
"I was just trying to put something in play. They were playing back so any thing I hit could get a run home. I got enough on the slider to get it out there," Buchanan said..
The Braves added two off Buchanan in the fifth.
Alcantara’s first home run of the season with Suarez on base negated the runs in the top of the inning. Cozart’s second home run of the game off Jason Mott in the sixth got the Reds to within three runs of the lead.
Cozart ended the game with a .344 batting average with nine home runs, five triples, 13 doubles and 33 RBI after a 3-for-4 day in which he was on base four times.
"Zack Cozart has earned has earned every bit of credit. He started out 0-30 in 2014 and was criticized for it," Price said.
Buchanan's stint of 5 1/3 inning allowed the Reds' bullpen to heal a little.
Atlanta scored two runs off Blake Wood in the ninth on doubles by Tyler Flowers and Santana, who had four hits and three RBI and Inciarte’s fifth hit, a run scoring single, for his fifth RBI.