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Atlanta Braves beat Cincinnati Reds for first playoff series win in 19 years

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (R) celebrates with teammates after winning Game 2 of the National League Wild Card Series on Thursday at Truist Park in Atlanta. Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (R) celebrates with teammates after winning Game 2 of the National League Wild Card Series on Thursday at Truist Park in Atlanta. Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Behind a strong pitching performance from rookie Ian Anderson, the Atlanta Braves finished off a two-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds in the wild-card round to win a playoff series for the first time in nearly two decades.

Anderson (1-0) dazzled across six innings as the Braves closed out the Reds with a 5-0 victory Thursday at Truist Park in Atlanta. He had two walks but struck out nine in his first postseason start.

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Anderson said it was special to be part of the Braves' two straight shutouts in the first-round series. Max Fried started in Atlanta's Game 1 win over the Reds, who were shut out in consecutive playoff games for the first time.

"All the credit to Max for going out there [Wednesday] pitch for pitch with [Reds starter Trevor] Bauer and setting the tone for us," Anderson said Thursday.

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With the Game 2 victory, the Braves snapped their record-tying streak of 10 consecutive playoff round losses. Prior to Thursday's win over the Reds, Atlanta's last postseason series win came in 2001.

The Braves will play either the Miami Marlins or Chicago Cubs in the NL Division Series in Houston.

"I told them we're just checking a box off in what we want to get done," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

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Ronald Acuna Jr. had three hits for the NL East champion Braves, including an RBI double in the fifth inning to give his club a 1-0 lead. Atlanta had a pair of two-run homers by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall in the eighth to clinch the win.

Reds starter Luis Castillo (0-1) struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings in his first postseason start. He allowed one earned run on six hits and was saddled with the loss.

"No one feels worse than the guys who put everything they had on the line, and it didn't work out," Reds manager David Bell said. "We've got to learn from it and find a way to be better from it."

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The Braves will face either the Marlins or the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS on Tuesday.

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Miami Marlins players pose for a picture after defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-0 in the National League Wild Card Game to win their first playoff series in 17 years in Chicago on Friday. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

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