The Atlanta Braves had all the chances to win on Sunday night. They just couldn't put it all together after a slow start and Drew Stubbs eventually won the game for Cincinnati as he sent the first pitch of the ninth inning over the right field wall to give the Reds a 4-3 victory.
Brandon Beachy struggled early, but he came back to toss six strong innings while allowing just three runs. Dontrelle Willis was the opposite; he started off strong, but faded as his pitch count increased. Willis, who has experienced somewhat of a comeback season after three miserable years in Detroit and Arizona, threw 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs as well.
Brandon Phillies gave Cincinnati a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a homer that just cleared the right field seats -- it would have been an easy catch for Jason Heyward if the game was played in Turner Field -- and Miguel Cairo added to the lead with a solo-home run of his own.
Brian McCann continued to pound the baseball at Great American Ballpark and hit his eighteenth home run of the season with a no-doubt shot to right in the fourth. Wilkin Ramirez also drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the same inning to cut the deficit to one.
Julio Lugo came up to pinch-hit in the seventh with one out and Nate McLouth on second base. Lugo ripped the ball up the middle and McLouth came around to score to tie the game. Martin Prado followed with a single to put two runners on, but Aroldys Chapman came into the game and induced a 6-4-3 double play from Jason Heyward to end the threat.
After scoreless innings of work from Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters, Scott Linebrink came into the game in the ninth. His first pitch, a 94mph fastball, was deposited into the right field seats by Drew Stubbs. And just like that, it was over.
Atlanta falls to six games back of the Phillies in the NL East, though they still have a four game lead in the Wild Card race over the DBacks. Thankfully the team will be heading home to kick off a 7-game home stand. The Braves will welcome in the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night as Tim Hudson faces James McDonald.