2020 National League Wild Card Series 4
|2020 National League Wild Card Series|
35 - 25 in the NL
|2 - 0
31 - 29 in the NL
|1||Cincinnati Reds 0 Atlanta Braves 1||September 30||Trevor Bauer (0-0) Max Fried (0-0)||12:00 noon|
|2||Cincinnati Reds 0 Atlanta Braves 5||October 1||Luis Castillo (0-1) Ian Anderson (1-0)||12:00 noon|
Game 1 @ Truist Park
|WP: A.J. Minter (1-0); LP: Archie Bradley (0-1)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: none
The Reds and Braves put on some tremendous feats of non-scoring before the Braves eventually recorded the game's only run in the bottom of the 13th inning to take Game 1 in (exhausted) walk-off fashion. The Reds wasted countless opportunities to take the game, but were never able to come up with the clutch hit they needed. The game marked the first time a postseason game had remained scoreless for 11 innings, and shattered that mark by lasting another full frame before a run was scored.
The game began, unsurprisingly, as a pitcher's duel between two of the best arms in the National League, ERA titlist Trevor Bauer for the Reds facing off against Braves ace Max Fried. Neither of the pitchers surrendered a run, with Bauer going 7 2/3 innings while allowing just a pair of hits and no walks and striking out 12, and Fried going 7 innings with 6 hits allowed, no walks as well, and 5 Ks. At first, it did not look like it would be a low-scoring game, as Fried allowed the first two batters of the game, Nick Senzel and Nicholas Castellanos, to reach on singles, but he got out of the men on the corners, nobody out situation like it was a Sunday stroll. In the top of the 7th, Fried's final inning, the Braves wasted another great chance when Aristides Aquino was caught in a rundown between third and home as the Reds unsuccessfully attempted a double steal with runners on the corners and two outs. The two starters' performance was a great beginning, but unbeknownst to anyone, the game was but halfway through when Bauer left and the bullpens took over. After the first few relievers continued with the mow-down work begun by the two starters, the Reds got a great chance to score in the 11th. With Darren O'Day on the mound, Castellanos hit a two-out double. O'Day issued an intentional walk to Joey Votto to face Eugenio Suarez, in a "pick your poison" type of situation, but he walked Suarez as well to load the bases. Mike Moustakas was up next, but he struck out swinging.
The Reds' frustrations continued in the 12th as once again they got the first two batters of the inning to reach base, but still came up empty. Aquino and Jesse Winker both hit singles, once again placing runners on the corners, but Kyle Farmer and Tucker Barnhart both struck out swinging. Travis Jankowski, who was running for Winker, stole second base on the second strikeout, but that did little good as pinch-hitter Freddy Galvis also struck out, stranding two more runners. During that time, the Braves had gotten all of three men in scoring position all game, Ozzie Albies on an error and stolen base in the 2nd, Freddie Freeman on a hit-by-pitch and two-out infield single by Albies in the 4th, and Ronald Acuna on a double to lead-off the 6th. None of them scored, but they finally managed to get another runner to second in the bottom of the 12th, although not in a straightforward manner. Travis d'Arnaud led off with a single and gave way to pinch-runner Charlie Culberson, but he was erased on a force-out by Albies. Adam Duvall struck out for the second out but Albies made it to second on a wild pitch by Michael Lorenzen. That was it, though, as Dansby Swanson struck out to end the inning. In the 13th, there was more gnashing of teeth by the Reds as Votto hit a one-out single and made it to second on a wild pitch by Shane Greene. Suarez followed with a single, but Votto stopped at third base. A.J. Minter came in to pitch, and he walked Moustakas to load the bases. But Aquino was the last Reds batter to leave runners on the board, as he struck out to end the inning.
The Reds finally ended the deadlock in the bottom of the 13th as after one out, Archie Bradley gave up a single to Nick Markakis, who was replaced by pinch-runner Cristian Pache. Pache moved to second on another single, by Austin Riley, but Acuna hit into a force out to retire Riley at second base. Amir Garrett now came in to face Freeman with two outs, the Reds' sixth pitcher of the game and third of the inning, but Freeman lined a ball into right field for a single to finally end the game.
Game 2 @ Truist Park
|WP: Ian Anderson (1-0); LP: Luis Castillo (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ATL - Marcell Ozuna (1), Adam Duvall (1)|
- Attendance: none
After wasting a ton of opportunities to score in Game 1, the Reds did not have the same problem in game 2 - but only because they hardly had any opportunities to waste. The Braves' pitchers were again brilliant, shutting out the Reds for the second straight game and a total of 22 innings over the series. This time, it was rookie Ian Anderson who flummoxed the Reds' hitters, pitching six innings of two-hit ball with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. The Reds' starter, Luis Castillo had nothing to be ashamed of with his performance, as he gave up just 1 run in 5 1/3 innings, while striking out 7. But that one run was enough to saddle him with the loss, and when the Braves teed off against Raisel Iglesias in the 8th, banging out a couple of two-run homers, there was no coming back.
The Reds' best chance - and in fact their only one - came in the 2nd inning when Eugenio Suarez led off with a single off Anderson. Mike Moustakas hit into a force out, but Jesse Winker drew a walk to put a second runner on base. After a fly out by Nick Senzel, it was Freddy Galvis who drew a walk, and the bases were loaded. But Tucker Barnhart was unable to take advantage of the opportunity, hitting a ground ball to 2B Ozzie Albies, and that was the end of the inning. Castillo was also very good, but in the 5th he allowed a single to Nick Markakis after one out, but got Austin Riley to hit into a force out. He was almost out of the inning, but Ronald Acuna hit a double to center-left and Riley scored without a throw. The score then remained 1-0 until the bottom of the 8th when Iglesias took over on the mound for Lucas Sims, who had had a very good outing in relief of Castillo. He committed a first sin when he walked lead-off man Freddie Freeman and compounded that with a mortal one when he coughed up a gopher ball to the next batter, Marcell Ozuna. At 3-0, given the Reds' anemic bats, the game was basically over, but Iglesias then walked Acuna after Suarez had dropped a pop-up in foul territory at third base. Next up was Adam Duvall, whose resumé so far this postseason included six strikeouts and a pop-up that had not travelled 10 feet from home plate, but he chose this moment to unthaw his bat and drove a ball behind the fence in left for another two-run homer. The Braves put two more men on before the nightmarish inning ended. and it was left up to closer Mark Melancon to finish the business, now with a comfortable 5-0 lead. He got the Reds in order as Cincinnati became the first team to complete an entire multi-game postseason series without scoring a single run and wer eliminated. For the Braves, it was their first postseason series win since the 2001 Division Series.
- Richard Justice: "Who has the edge? Reds-Braves pos.-by-pos.", mlb.com, September 28, 2020. 
- Jesse Yomtov: "Braves sweep Reds, ending 19-year drought without postseason series win", USA Today, October 1, 2020. 
|Major League Baseball Wild Card Series|