ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. is usually the player pouring water on a teammate who’s getting mobbed after the Atlanta Braves win in their last at-bat.
This time it was Acuña’s turn after his first career game-ending hit.
“It feels great to be able to do that and have the victory,” he said through a translator. “See the ball, hit the ball.”
Acuña hit an RBI single off Robert Stephenson with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and Atlanta recovered from blowing two leads to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Saturday night.
The Braves, whose 10 extra-inning victories rank second in the majors, thought they had the game just about won in the eighth when Acuña drew a tiebreaking, bases-loaded walk from Michael Lorenzen . But then Shane Greene, the new closer making his Braves debut after being acquired in a trade with Detroit, blew a save opportunity in the ninth.
Greene gave up consecutive singles to begin the inning before Tucker Barnhart’s flair single to left field scored the tying run.
Luke Jackson (6-2), who lost the closer’s job to Greene after the trade, earned the win after striking out the side in the 10th.
Jared Hughes (3-4) walked Adam Duvall and Ender Inciarte before Johan Camargo’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners. After Stephenson struck out pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson, Acuña singled down the third base line to win it .
“We came to compete, they came to compete,” Acuña said. “Somebody has to win. Somebody has to lose, and we came out with the victory.”
It marked the 18th time Atlanta has won in its last at-bat this season.
Ozzie Albies scored on a wild pitch in the third inning for a 1-0 lead and tripled and scored on Freddie Freeman’s single in the fifth to make it 2-0.
Braves starter Dallas Keuchel was turning in his best outing in nine starts this season before Aristides Aquino hit his first career homer , a three-run shot into the left field seats in the seventh to make it 3-all.
“It was a good swing on an elevated changeup that didn’t move late,” Keuchel said, “so you just kind of tip your cap to a strong kid.”
Aquino reached three times against Keuchel, getting his first career hit with a single in the second and walking in the fifth.
Neither Keuchel nor Trevor Bauer, who was making his Cincinnati debut after getting traded from Cleveland earlier in the week, received a decision.
Bauer was chased when Duvall’s RBI double put the Braves up 3-0 in the fifth. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking three.
“I thought my stuff was really good,” Bauer said. “I just never could quite find the groove where I could locate when I needed to or at least throw (the fastball) for a strike.”
Keuchel gave up three runs, four hits and one walk, striking out four in seven innings.
Bauer struck out Duvall in the first to leave the bases loaded and threw a called third strike past him in the third to strand a runner at second.
But the Braves took the lead in the third with Duvall at the plate after Albies walked, stole second, advanced on a groundout and scored on a headfirst slide when Bauer’s pitch bounced away in front of the plate.
It nearly happened again in the fourth. A pitch got away from Barnhart, who quickly retrieved the ball and tossed back to Bauer for the tag as Inciarte tried to score on a headfirst slide .
Braves SS Dansby Swanson, who missed his 10th straight game with a bruised right foot, ran the bases for the second consecutive day but might need a minor league rehab game before he’s ready to return. Swanson is having no trouble hitting or throwing.
Reds manager David Bell avoided drama from the night before and watched Friday’s game from the upper deck in right field while serving the second of a six-game suspension.
Bell, who is allowed in the ballpark during the suspension but must stay away from the dugout, clubhouse and press box when the game begins, said he took in all nine innings without getting approached. He had too much fan interaction on Thursday and had to keep moving around.
Reds: RHP Sonny Gray (6-6, 3.45 ERA) has held opponents to a .202 batting average in four starts since the All-Star break. He received a no-decision after allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings of an April 23 start against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (6-7, 3.38) has a 1.85 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break. He is 3-4 with a 4.01 ERA in eight career starts against Cincinnati.
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