ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies crushed a three-run homer off Lucas Sims in the bottom of the 11th inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to an 8-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Albies’ 19th homer sailed 412 feet into the right-field stands to send Truist Park into a wild celebration. He drove in placement runner Adam Duvall and Joc Pederson, whom Sims (4-2) walked.
“I was thinking when I got to home plate of tying the ball game, so I needed a base hit,” Albies said. “Once the (at-bat) got rolling, I got my pitch I was looking for. Hitter’s count, and I did what I had to do.”
With the win, and Philadelphia’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Braves moved into a tie for first place in the NL East.
“That’s a great feeling especially right now,” Albies said. “The Phillies (lost), and we won. This game was important for us. Everything for the team. It’s enjoyable when you’re winning and you see where you’re at and fighting for first place to win the division, so everything counts from now on. There’s not a lot of the season left, so you just have to keep rolling.”
Kyle Farmer singled in the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning against Edgar Santana (3-0), and Joey Votto hit a pair of two-run homers for the Reds.
Votto sent the game into extra innings by taking closer Will Smith deep in the ninth. He went 4 for 5 and reached safely five times.
“I appreciate it,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said of Votto. “I respect it. Like everyone else, it’s fun watching it. It’s amazing. He’s a great hitter. It’s really nice watching him go through it. I probably am out of (accolades) to say, but it’s something to really appreciate and enjoy as we watch it happen.”
The Braves didn’t trail until Barnhart’s single. Guillermo Heredia hit an early two-run homer off Wade Miley, and Austin Riley doubled in a pair of runs for Atlanta.
Touki Toussaint pitched five-plus innings for the Braves. He allowed four hits and two runs with three walks and five strikeouts.
Atlanta has won seven of eight. Cincinnati, eight games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central, has lost three straight after winning five in a row.
The Braves led 1-0 in the first. Albies, who was 2 for 18, singled and advanced to second on a walk to Jorge Soler. Albies scored on Riley’s double, but Soler ran through third base coach Ron Washington’s stop sign and was thrown out at the plate.
Heredia followed with his fifth homer in the second to make it 3-0. Atlanta struck again in the third when Freddie Freeman singled and scored from first on Riley’s double down the left-field line. Riley scored for a 5-0 lead on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly.
Freeman was ruled safe after a video review overturned the call that he was originally tagged out.
Smith blew his fourth save of the season when Votto homered.
Toussaint was cruising until the sixth. He hit Nick Castellanos with a pitch before Votto took him deep to center with his 24th homer, trimming the lead to 5-2. Jesse Chavez, Toussaint’s replacement, struck out Barnhart and pinch-hitter Jonathan India to strand two runners.
Miley gave up five runs and five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. In his previous 13 starts since May 14, Miley had gone 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA.
“We battled back,” Miley said. “The offense did a great job. Joey had an outstanding day. It’s tough to lose a game like that. We fought our way back in it, took the lead in the 11th, but tip your cap. Ozzie got a pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Cincinnati threatened in the first when Jesse Winker walked and advanced on a wild pitch and Votto’s single, but was stranded when Toussaint struck out Mike Moustakas
Toussaint pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third when Moustakas popped up.
The Reds made it 5-3 in the eighth on consecutive doubles by Tyler Naquin and Eugenio Suárez against Luke Jackson.
Reds: India was not in the lineup so he could have the day off. … Bell said OF Nick Senzel (knee) and RHP Tejay Antone (forearm) are getting close to ending their rehab assignments with Triple-A Louisville.
Braves: C Travis d’Arnaud returned from the injured list, was reinstated from his rehab assignment and went 1 for 4 batting seventh in the lineup. D’Arnaud missed three and half months with a left thumb injury.
Votto tied Ty Cobb for 53rd place on the career walks list with 1,260. Votto is the Reds’ career leader in walks. He also surpassed Pete Rose for third place on the Reds’ career RBI list with 1,038.
Atlanta LHP Tyler Matzek struck out Moustakas, the only batter he faced in the seventh, extending his scoreless streak to 12 innings in his last 13 appearances. He has allowed six baserunners and fanned 14 over this stretch. The Braves are 11-2 during his run.
By THE NUMBERS
The Braves improved to 15-6 over their last 21 starts against a left-hander. They began the season 2-6 against lefties. … Atlanta improved to 22-11 against the NL Central.
Reds RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (7-3, 4.15 ERA) will face Braves LHP Kyle Muller (2-3, 2.88) as the teams conclude a three-game series.
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