Murphy crushes game-winning home run, Braves edge Reds to snap losing streak
By Chris Turner
Atlanta's short losing streak came to a close on Monday night in dramatic fashion, with the Atlanta Braves walking off the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4.
The win keeps the Braves out in front in the NL East with a record of 7-4. The Reds fall to 4-5 on the young season.
After three consecutive nights with no Atlanta starting pitcher going more than five innings, Bryce Elder came through in a huge way with his second straight shutout performance. He threw 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts, possibly earning himself another start for the Braves later this week in Kansas City.
Across the field, Graham Ashcraft put up a very solid outing of his own to keep Atlanta in check most of the night. The 25-year old right hander went six innings and struck out seven batters while allowing just one run.
The one run came in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Sean Murphy sneaking a double down the left field line to score Austin Riley all the way from first. It's the second multi-hit game of the year for Murphy, and snaps a three-game hitless streak. Atlanta added another pivotal run in the bottom of the seventh, when a passed ball on a wild pitch allowed Orlando Arcia to score from third to make it 2-0.
Even with a few timely hits, the Braves struggled once again to do much with runners on the bases, ending the night 2-12 with runners in scoring position.
Cincinnati pulled back within one in the top of the eighth. After a Jonathan India double, Jake Fraley hit a single off Nick Anderson into right to close the gap to 2-1.
Atlanta responded in the bottom of the inning with Arcia hitting his second single of the night, scoring Ozzie Albies and putting the Braves back up 3-1. Arcia is now slashing .341/.400/.937 to start the year.
AJ Minter came into the game trying to close things out in the ninth, but the Reds strung together three straight hits from Wil Myers, Stuart Fairchild, and Spencer Steer to tie the game at 3-3. Minter recovered to force a double play, and then a groundout to get out of the ninth inning still tied. Atlanta went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to send them to its first extra inning game of 2023.
The Reds took the lead for the first time in the 10th, after India singled to right of Dylan Lee to score Jose Barrero and make it 4-3.
Capping off easily his best game as an Atlanta Brave so far, Murphy led off the bottom of the 10th by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Derek Law, sending it 408-feet over the wall in center field to win the game.
It's early, but this win is a pretty big in scale for Atlanta, not just to snap the losing skid, but to build a little confidence in a player that needed a boost with most of the catching responsibilities falling on his shoulders for the time being.
Braves and Reds square off again on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET.