3:36 PM ET
ESPN News Services
ATLANTA — Ian Anderson dazzled in another shutout performance for Atlanta, and the Braves won a playoff series for the first time in almost two decades by sweeping the light-hitting Cincinnati Reds with a 5-0 victory Thursday.
Ronald Acuna Jr. had three hits for the National League East champions, including a run-scoring double in the fifth inning. After winning Wednesday’s series opener 1-0 in 13 innings, Atlanta broke open Game 2 on two-run homers by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall off Raisel Iglesias in the eighth.
Ozuna took a mock selfie when he reached first base after crushing his blast, which traveled 487 feet.
“It felt good, it feels amazing. Yesterday against Trevor Bauer, I was telling to my teammates that I’m going to be ready, I’m going to be ready, if I hit a homer, I’m going to take a selfie in the middle of the home plate and first base. And the moment came, and I did it,” he told ESPN after the game.
Anderson struck out nine in six innings as the Braves snapped their record-tying string of losses in 10 consecutive postseason rounds since their last playoff series win in 2001. Just like in 2001, when Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz helped lead the way, Atlanta’s pitching staff delivered.
Anderson, 22, allowed two hits and walked two in his playoff debut after six regular-season starts. Will Smith, Chris Martin and Mark Melancon each threw one perfect inning.
Cincinnati wasted a solid performance by Luis Castillo, who struck out seven in 5⅓ innings in his first postseason start. Bauer struck out 12 in 7⅔ scoreless innings in the Reds’ Game 1 loss.
Atlanta jumped in front in the fifth. With two outs, Austin Riley took off from first base on a pitch Acuna lined into the gap in left center. Riley scored easily and Acuna stood on second base, pumping both fists in the air in celebration.
Cincinnati left 13 runners on base Wednesday, and its scoring frustrations continued.
Anderson’s second walk of the second, to Freddy Galvis, loaded the bases with two outs. Tucker Barnhart’s groundout to second base ended the inning.
The Braves had been 0-7 in their past seven potential clinching games in the postseason, including 0-2 in their division series loss to St. Louis last year.
The Braves will face the winner of the series between the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NL Division Series in Houston on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.