The two starting pitchers delivered on a promise of a pitching duel, but it was the MVP candidate who came up huge.
Freddie Freeman, who before the season started detailed his battle with COVID-19, delivered a walk-off single off Amir Garrett to end a 13-inning marathon and give the Atlanta Braves a 1-0 victory and series lead in the National League Wild Card series.
Atlanta found little success in the batters box over the first 12 innings of the game, as Reds starter Trevor Bauer fanned 12 and allowed two hits over his 7 ⅔ innings. But Braves starter Max Fried worked around six hits to match zeroes with Bauer, with five strikeouts in seven scoreless frames.
Each bullpen – Atlanta used eight pitchers in total – held the fort until Freeman plated rookie Cristian Pache with the winning run. Pache pinch ran for Nick Markakis, who led off the 13th with a single against Archie Bradley. Austin Riley followed with a knock of his own before a fielders choice set up first-and-third with one out, when Reds manager David Bell summoned Garrett to face Freeman.
Baserunning mistakes and a lack of clutch hitting cost the Reds, who left 13 runners on base in the loss. Both teams combined to strike out 37 times in the game – 21 by the Braves and 16 from Cincinnati.
It was the longest scoreless game in MLB postseason history.