Juan Francisco’s Grand Slam Helps Braves Beat Reds 7-2
CINCINNATI (AP) — Dan Uggla hit a pair of solo homers and Juan Francisco added his first career grand slam as the Atlanta Braves recovered from a stunning last-swing loss by beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 Wednesday.
Atlanta took two of three in the series, the first the Reds lost at home this season. The Reds are 13-6 at Great American Ball Park, the most home wins the majors.
Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit two-out homers in the ninth inning for Cincinnati’s 5-4 win on Tuesday night. A day later, one of the NL’s top power teams got the better of it. Atlanta came into the game tied with Colorado for the NL lead with 44 homers.
Uggla had solo shots in the fourth and sixth innings off Mike Leake (2-2), his first multihomer game this season. Leake pitched into the eighth, ending a streak of six straight subpar starts by the Reds rotation.
Francisco’s slam off J.J. Hoover highlighted a five-run eighth inning. The Braves obtained Francisco in a trade with the Reds last year for Hoover.
Jordan Schafer had three hits, and Andrelton Simmons had a career-high four hits in the top two spots in Atlanta’s lineup.
Left-hander Mike Minor (4-2) allowed four hits in seven innings, including Zack Cozart’s homer in the third. Jay Bruce had a solo shot in the ninth off Anthony Varvaro.
The game matched starting pitchers taken back-to-back in the 2009 amateur draft. Minor was taken seventh out of Vanderbilt, with Leake drafted next out of Arizona State.
There was a replay review in the fourth, when Evan Gattis hit a long foul down the third base line. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez talked to the umpires, who reviewed the play for 3 minutes, 5 seconds and upheld the call. Gattis struck out on the next pitch.
Up came Uggla, who homered on the following pitch to tie it at 1. Uggla is 4 for 10 career off Leake with three homers.
Both teams wasted early bases-loaded opportunities.
Cincinnati loaded the bases with no outs in the second. Donald Lutz flied out to left field, and Gattis threw out Brandon Phillips at the plate as he tagged on the play. The Braves loaded the bases with one out in the third before Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play.
In addition to all the homers, there were a lot of strikeouts in a series matching teams that rank first and second in the NL at failing to make contact. The Braves fanned 32 times during the three games, giving Atlanta a league-leading 304. The Reds are next with 278.
NOTES: The Braves head to San Francisco for a four-game series. The Reds are off Thursday before hosting Milwaukee. … Uggla has a six-game hitting streak. … Simmons has seven multi-hit games in his last 16. … Braves C Brian McCann, who returned from the DL at the start of the series, got the day off. McCann had surgery on his throwing shoulder last October. … The Reds’ 5-4 win on Tuesday night marked the first time since 1977 that Cincinnati won a game with a pair of two-out homers in the ninth. Dan Driessen and Johnny Bench had homers off Philadelphia’s Tug McGraw for a 6-5 win. Driessen’s homer was inside the park.
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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.