Ad Spot

May 15, 2021

CINCINNATI — One of the NL’s best closers was one strike away from a milestone save. Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo turned everything upside down in a span of five pitches.
Mesoraco homered on a full-count pitch from Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, and Choo followed with his second homer of the game, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
So sudden, and so shocking for everyone.
“He’s the best closer in the league,” said Choo, whose second career game-ending homer gave him a team-high seven this season. “This is a big game for us.”
Cincinnati’s offense has been struggling the last couple of weeks. The Reds were one strike away from another low-scoring loss after Kimbrel (0-1) fanned the first two batters in the ninth and went to a full count on Mesoraco.
Mesoraco hasn’t done much pinch hitting, but remembered something that manager Dusty Baker had advised about those pressure situations.
“Dusty says with two strikes, look for their hardest pitch away,” Mesoraco said. “I stayed on it.”
Center fielder B.J. Upton drifted toward the wall and jumped, the ball narrowly clearing his glove and landing in the first row at one of the majors’ most homer-friendly ballparks.
“That was incredible,” Mesoraco said of his first career pinch-hit homer. “I watched (Upton). Once he looked up, it was a pretty good feeling.”
Kimbrel is only one save away from No. 100 for his career. He’d blown a save last Friday by giving up his first homer of the season, a shot by David Wright that tied it in the ninth. The Mets went on to win 7-5 in 10 innings.
He gave up his second and third homers in quick succession Tuesday.
“All around, it’s frustrating,” said Kimbrel, who is 10 of 13 in save chances. “I’ve blown three saves. Those are wins we should have had.”
Jonathan Broxton (1-1) retired three batters in the ninth for Cincinnati’s fourth win in five games.
The comeback gave Dusty Baker his 1,600th victory as a manager, moving him ahead of Tommy Lasorda for 18th place on the career list.
“That’s one of the best I can remember of the 1,600,” Baker said. “It might be the top.”
The Braves led from the first inning until Kimbrel’s last few pitches.
Brian McCann singled with the bases loaded in the first inning — the first hit of his injury-shortened season — as the Braves pulled ahead 3-0 against Homer Bailey. Kris Medlen limited Cincinnati to four hits in seven innings, including Choo’s solo homer.
Medlen has five quality starts in his seven appearances, but only one win. Mesoraco’s homer snatched away another.
“Anytime we’re here, the ballpark is kind of an excuse,” Medlen said. “But that Mesoraco fly ball is a fly-ball out in a lot of places.”
For the second game in a row, a Reds starter lasted a season-low five innings. Bronson Arroyo gave up four runs in a 7-4 loss in the series opener Monday night. Bailey allowed four runs on five hits and four walks in five innings, leaving for a pinch hitter in the fifth. Donald Lutz batted for Bailey and singled home a run that cut it to 4-2.
Joey Votto’s double in the sixth extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest by a Reds player this season. Brandon Phillips’ sacrifice fly in the eighth cut it to 4-3.
The series matches the NL’s top two teams at striking out. The Braves lead the league with 297, the Reds are next at 268. Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce, who leads the NL with 49 strikeouts, fanned with Votto on third base in the sixth inning. Todd Frazier struck out with two aboard in the eighth.
Andrelton Simmons hit a pair of homers in the series opener and moved up from eighth in Atlanta’s batting order to leadoff. He opened the game with a double and scored the first run. He also made a sensational play in the fourth, diving for a grounder in the hole at shortstop and throwing out Bruce at first.
Simmons also made a barehand catch-and-throw to get Choo at first base in the eighth.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021

News

$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row

Nation/World

China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program

Business

Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome

Coronavirus

State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions

Crime

Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it

Crime

Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits

Crime

Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday