Bullpen fails Reds as they fall to 5-20

Braves score three runs in final two innings

The Cincinnati Reds needed only 25 games to reach 20 losses, another sad stat in a young season full of them. A 7-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at Great American Ball Park left them with a 5-20 mark, their worst record ever in the first 25 games, and of the 17 worst records in baseball history in the same span.

On the bright side, the offense appears to have turned a corner from awful to decent. After a five-game losing streak that saw the Reds score a total of seven runs, they tallied 27 runs in four games against the Atlanta Braves, splitting the series after winning the first two games.

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Joey Votto’s game-tying, three-run home run in the fifth provided most of the offense in the series finale. He has homered in three straight games after not hitting a home run in his first 21 appearances.

“I’m just not missing,” Votto said. “It’s just how hitting works out sometimes. I felt like I was trending in that direction, but they just weren’t showing up in the game.”

The Reds rallied from a 4-0 deficit only to see the Braves regain the lead with a two-out rally in the eighth against reliever Wandy Peralta. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a bloop double to score Freddie Freeman. Then a single by Dansby Swanson scored Acuna Jr.

“We certainly don’t accept coming up short,” interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman said, “but in three of the four ballgames, we were down by as much as four runs, and in every one of those games we tied and/or went ahead. The two-out hits today were particularly painful because Peralta was throwing the ball outstanding, and it was really a flare down the right-field line. There was nothing you could do about it. He made a heck of a pitch.”

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The Braves added an insurance run with two outs in the ninth against reliever Dylan Floro. A double by Ozzie Albies scored Ender Inciarte. In all, Reds pitchers allowed 21 earned runs in the series. Their 5.42 team ERA ranks second to last in baseball.

Notes: Reds starter Homer Bailey made his sixth start of the season and left the game after five innings. It was his second-shortest outing of the season. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits. His ERA climbed from 3.68 to 4.19. … Acuna Jr., who made his big-league debut Tuesday, hit his first career home run in the second inning. … Reds reliever Amir Garrett bounced back from his first rough outing of the season. He pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. In his previous outing Tuesday, he allowed three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.


Reds at Twins, 8:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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