The scoreless innings kept accumulating, alongside the strikeouts. The shadows started to crawl over the infield, and when the lights entered a generally empty stadium for a postseason game that started a little past early afternoon, it seemed like this may go on until the end of time.
At long last, Freddie Freeman had seen enough.
The MVP competitor who warded off a startling session with the Covid toward the start of this most abnormal season fittingly conveyed the triumphant hit in the thirteenth inning, finishing the longest scoreless duel in postseason history as the Atlanta Braves vanquished the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the opener of their National League Wild Card Series on Wednesday.
“That was a very stressful 4 1/2 hours,” Freeman said with a chuckle.
The East hero Braves won a postseason opener unexpectedly since Game 1 of the 2001 NL Division Series. They’ll attempt to wrap up the best-of-three arrangement Thursday and snap a record-tying dash of 10 straight playoff round misfortunes.
“We’re one away from winning it,” said Atlanta starter Max Fried, who went seven scoreless innings and was just 7 years old the last time the Braves won a playoff series. “I’m feeling really good going into tomorrow.”
What started as a pitching standoff between Cy Young competitors Fried and Cincinnati ace Trevor Bauer declined into a strikeout challenge played before a modest bunch of loved ones at Truist Park.
The teams consolidated for a postseason record 37 Ks – 21 by the Braves.
After two or three hits in the thirteenth against Archie Bradley, Freeman drove one into focus field off Amir Garrett against a five-man infield with one out to end a game that delayed for in excess of 4 1/2 hours.
A four-time All-Star, Freeman delivered another huge year in a pandemic-abbreviated season after a fight with COVID-19 in July so serious that he said he asked: “Please don’t take me.”
In the thirteenth, he came up in a circumstance he savors.
“That’s the guy we want up there,” manager Brian Snitker said.
A.J. Minter got away from a bases-stacked, one-out jam in the head of the thirteenth for the success – the third consecutive inning the Reds pushed a sprinter to third however couldn’t get him another 90 feet.
“These guys take so much pride in coming through in those situations,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Each and every time we had the opportunity, we believed it was going to happen.”
While there is no denying the memorable idea of the first postseason game to be scoreless after 11 innings, it scarcely qualified as a work of art beginning an extraordinary day of eight season finisher games.
With the assigned sprinter at a respectable halfway point not, at this point in play for postseason games, two groups that depend vigorously on the long ball alternated simply thrashing ceaselessly at the plate, giving a few chances to hit sprinters along.
Generally, they worked up only a firm breeze.
“We’re a big-swinging team,” Snitker said. “Sometimes, it doesn’t happen.”
Bauer unquestionably satisfied his charging as one of baseball’s best pitcher. The frank right-hander turned into the principal pitcher in major class history to record 12 strikeouts without any strolls, no runs and two or less hits in a postseason start.
Bauer was lifted subsequent to resigning the initial two hitters in the eighth, doing the Braves hack on his way to the burrow.
“I brought my ‘A’ game and everything,” Bauer said. “I was exhausted.”
The Braves’ just genuine danger against Bauer came in the 6th, when Ronald Acuna Jr. opened with a twofold to the divider in focus and moved to third on Freeman’s groundout. NL grand slam and RBI lord Marcell Ozuna jumped out behind home plate, and Travis d’Arnaud struck out swinging.
Seared went almost pitch for pitch with the Cincinnati pro, giving up six hits while striking out five. He didn’t walk anybody, either.