Ian Anderson dazzled in another shutout performance for Atlanta as they 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 NL East champions, including a run-scoring double in the fifth. 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.
Anderson struck out nine in six innings as Atlanta snapped its record-tying string of losses in 10 consecutive post-season rounds since their last playoff series win in 2001. Atlanta will face Miami or the Chicago Cubs in the NL Division Series in Houston.
Just like in 2001, when Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz helped lead the way, Atlanta’s pitching staff delivered.
The 22-year-old Anderson 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 5 1/3 innings in his first post-season start. Trevor Bauer struck out 12 in 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the Reds’ Game 1 loss.
Marlins-Cubs Game 2 rained out
Game 2 of the National League wild-card series between the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins was postponed because of a forecast for rain on Thursday.
Miami leads 1-0 after winning the opener 5-1, and the teams will meet Friday.
If a Game 3 is needed, it would be played Saturday.
Yu Darvish was scheduled to start Game 2 for Chicago, and rookie Sixto Sanchez for the Marlins.