By HAL McCOY
Futility, thy double name is the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves.
The two teams played deep into the night and early into the next morning Wednesday/Thursday, 13 innings worth over 5 1/2 hours before a delirious decision was rendered.
In the end, the Reds lost, 9-8, in what turned out to be in an incredibly unbelievable manner in the 13th. They scored two in the top of the 13th and then pitcher Alfredo Simon did not retire any of the six batters he faced and the Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the 13th.
A bases loaded and no outs single by Chase d’arnaud broke an 8-8 tie to give the Braves the unfathomable victory.
DURING THE DEBACLE THE Braves were 7 for 25 with runners in scoring position and left 18 runners on base. They struck out 15 times. For the second straight night they had the bases loaded with no outs and didn’t score.
On Wednesday/Thursday they had the bases loaded with no outs in the 11th inning, needing to score the run from third base against Tony Cingrani and didn’t do it.
The Braves used nine pitchers and the Reds used eight. There were 468 pitches thrown, 267 by the Reds and 201 by the Braves. The Braves used 21 players and the Reds used 20. Reds manager Bryan Price used all his position players with the exception of Kyle Waldrop.
THE ONLY SALVATION FOR folks who stayed up to watch this miscarriage of baseball was that they got to see Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), the first time an Atlanta player did it since Mark Kotsay in 1985.
And Freeman, who has seven hits in the last two games, hit the home run in the sixth inning to tie the game, 6-6.
It stayed 6-6 through the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th.
Adam Duvall led the top of the 13th with a full-count walk. Ivan DeJesus Jr. bunted and Atlanta second baseman Jace Peterson dropped the throw at first base and both runners were safe. Tyler Holt bunted the runners to second and third.
After Eugenio Suarez struck out, his modus operandi these days, Tyler Barnhart was walked intentionally to fill the bases with two outs.
AFTER PITCHER ALEX OGONDO slipped two quick strikes past Jose Peraza, he threw four straight balls for a walk that forced in a run to give the Reds a 7-6 lead. Joey Votto then singled for another run to make it 8-6, but DeJesus was thrown out at the plate.
All Alfredo Simon needed were three outs to nail it down. He didn’t hammer home a single nail.
Adonis Garcia singled to left. Nick Markakis singled off first baseman Joey Votto’s glove (Votto’s error earlier in the game led to three unearned runs). Jace Peterson doubled to the right field corner for a run to slice the Reds’ lead to 8-7. Tyler Flowers singled to left to tie it, 8-8.
Erick Aybar was walked intentionally to fill the bases with no outs. Price brought left fielder Adam Duvall into the infield to put five defenders in the infield, but d’arnaud drooped the game-ending single into left center.
WAY, WAY, WAY BACK early in the game Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani fell behind, 4-0, early in the game and lasted only 2 2/3 innings. In the third inning. with one out and the bases loaded, Peterson grounded to Votto and he threw home trying to get a force out, but his throw was wide for an error and a run scored. With two outs Erick Aybar doubled home two runs for a 4-0 Braves lead.
For his 2 1/3 innings in his second start this season, DeSclafani threw 76 pitches while giving up four runs (one earned), six hits and three walks.
The Reds scored three in the fourth, cutting their deficit to 4-3. The Braves scored a run in the fifth to make it 5-3 before the Reds scored three in the sixth on Jay Bruce’s single for his 50th RBI and DeJesus singled for two more and a 6-5 lead.
Then came Freeman’s sixth-inning home run and then the long, long trudge to the 13th inning.
ALONG THE WAY THE Reds made six outs via strikeout of the seven outs they made. On a positive note. J.C. Ramirez pitched two innings for the Reds and struck six in the ninth and 10th. He whiffed the first five, gave up a single, then struck out Ender Inciarte.