Braves rally off Chapman, beat Reds 2-1 to end losing skid
CINCINNATI (AP) — Pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin waited for a 100 mph fastball that he could handle and sent it right back up the middle. He was just getting started.
Gosselin singled off Aroldis Chapman to open the ninth, stole a base and scored on the closer’s 103 mph wild pitch, rallying the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
“The offense came around in the ninth off one of best closers in the game, which is pretty special,” Braves starter Shelby Miller said.
The Braves snapped a three-game losing streak and sent Cincinnati’s best reliever to his second loss in two days. Chapman (1-2) also gave up a ninth-inning run during a 4-3 loss to the White Sox on Sunday — the first run he had allowed all season.
Gosselin took second when Nick Markakis singled on a 98 mph fastball, and then decided to steal third because Chapman was being slow in his delivery.
“On the first pitch, he was pretty slow, so I said to myself if he’s slow again, I’m going to take a shot again and go for it,” Gosselin said. “I got a good jump and almost fell halfway there, but I stayed on my feet on got there.”
With one out and Freddie Freeman at bat, Chapman threw a 103 mph fastball that sailed off the end of Tucker Barnhart’s mitt and went to the backstop, allowing Gosselin to score easily.
“We always talk about his baseball IQ,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s never going to miss a sign. He’s lurking all the time.”
Left-hander Luis Avilan (1-0) retired all three batters in the eighth. Jim Johnson gave up a single in the ninth while getting his second save in three chances.
Both teams wasted bases-loaded chances to break it open.
Andrelton Simmons ended Mike Leake’s scoreless streak at 19 innings when he led off the fourth with a homer. The Braves went on to load the bases with one out, but Leake escaped the threat.
The Braves had another bases-loaded, one-out threat in the sixth but couldn’t score.
The Reds loaded the bases with none out in the second, when Miller gave up a pair of singles and hit Kristopher Negron in the shoulder. Barnhart’s sacrifice fly was all the Reds could manage.
Miller didn’t allow another runner until the seventh inning, when the Reds stranded two more. Miller gave up three hits in seven innings. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his seven starts.
Freeman extended his hitting streak to eight games (16 for 32) with a single off Leake that left him 2-for-17 career off the right-hander. … Markakis’ single off Leake extended his hitting streak to seven games.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Gonzalez unsuccessfully challenged a call in the sixth. Plate umpire Laz Diaz ruled A.J. Pierzynski out at the plate on a fielder’s choice, with catcher Tucker Barnhart taking the throw while straddling the plate. The Braves contended the catcher violated the collision rule, but the call was upheld.
Braves: Closer Jason Grilli played catch and ran on the field before the game, testing his achy back. He felt fine afterward and told Gonzalez he was available to pitch. The manager decided to rest him one more day.
Reds: Shortstop Zack Cozart was a late scratch because of a sore left wrist, which was hit by a pitch on May 3. It was the fourth game he’s missed with the injury.
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz (2-0) tries for his second straight win over the Reds. He went five innings and gave up two earned runs for a 4-3 win at Turner Field on May 1.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (2-3) tries to get out of his five-inning rut. He has lasted only five innings in each of his last three starts, all losses, because of high pitch counts.