The Atlanta Braves aren’t exactly reeling.
They’ve held first place in the NL East since May 31 and still lead the league in runs scored.
Over the past seven games Pat McAfee Jersey , however, manager Brian Snitker has watched his team lose five times in the first lull of the season.
”This is really the first grind-type thing team-wise that we’ve been through,” he said. ”You’re going to go through it. Everybody goes through it. We’re not going to be immune to it.”
Adam Duvall had a two-run single in the seventh inning, Jose Peraza homered and scored twice, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Braves 6-5 on Wednesday.
The Reds have won two straight, nine of 10 and 12 of 15 after taking two of three at SunTrust Park. Closer Raisel Iglesias had a perfect ninth to earn his 15th save in 17 chances, giving Cincinnati its best 10-game stretch since June 19-29, 2012.
”We definitely don’t ever think we’re out of a game,” said Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, the NL’s leading hitter with a .336 average. ”At any moment we can tack on a few runs, take the lead and our bullpen’s been doing a great job of keeping it.”
Cincinnati took advantage of another shaky outing by reliever Sam Freeman (2-4), scoring three runs in the seventh inning for a 6-5 lead on Gennett’s RBI single and Duvall’s single.
Freeman allowed two hits, three runs in two-thirds of an inning and dropped to 1-3 with an 8.16 ERA in his past 15 appearances. Atlanta’s bullpen blew three leads on the homestand and posted a 5.46 ERA in 29 2/3 innings as the Braves missed an opportunity against Baltimore, the AL’s worst team, and Cincinnati, the NL’s third-worst.
It marked the first time this season Atlanta lost consecutive home series.
Next up is a 10-game road trip against three of the majors’ best teams in St. Louis, the New York Yankees and Milwaukee. Snitker said he’s not concerned about the personnel. The recent combination of rain delays and extra-inning games has gotten things out of sync.
”The bullpen is taxed. We’re getting guys on and have a hard time in the productive out situation,” Snitker said. ”It’s going to happen.”
The Braves had gone 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position in the past two games, but four runners scored from second base in the fourth. They went 0 for 5 the rest of the way.
Jackson Stephens (2-0) struck out two in 1 2/3 innings to earn the win. Iglesias earned a save for the second straight day and has converted his past six chances.
Braves starter Sean Newcomb allowed seven hits, three runs and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings. He has a 2.13 ERA in his past six home starts, but threw a career-high 111 pitches.
Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo retired the first 11 batters and gave up six hits, one walk and five runs – four earned – with four strikeouts in four innings. After Castillo was chased in the fifth, Peraza misplayed a bases-loaded grounder that allowed a run to score and would’ve ended the inning.
The Reds made it 4-3 in the fifth when Peraza tripled and scored on Brandon Dixon’s single. Cincinnati led 2-0 on Billy Hamilton’s RBI single in the second and Peraza’s homer, his third, in the third.
Four straight singles in the seventh gave the Reds the lead for good.
”We’ve had some games lately where we came back in late innings, so that’s one thing about this team Jack Doyle Jersey ,” Duvall said. ”We don’t give up.”
ACHES AND PAINS
Braves 2B Ozzie Albies got the day off after his left foot was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning Tuesday. He stayed in the game, but Snitker said he was sore when he woke up Wednesday. Albies, the NL doubles leader, is batting .459 during an eight-game hitting streak. … Atlanta CF Ender Inciarte left the game before the start of the eighth with a sore oblique. Snitker believes he will be ready by Friday.
Reds 1B Joey Votto was ejected in the first inning for arguing a called third strike. It was the eighth of his career and the first since Sept. 9, 2015. Dixon took Votto’s place and went 1 for 2.
Braves LF Ronald Acuna Jr., sidelined since May 28 with a left knee sprain and bruises to his knee and lower back, will likely be reinstated from the disabled list before Friday’s game at St. Louis. He went 3 for 11 in his past three rehab games with Triple-A Gwinnett. … Atlanta RHP Mike Soroka was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Soroka, a prized young starter, is on the DL for the second time with shoulder inflammation.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafini (3-1, 4.09 ERA) will try to win his fourth straight start when Cincinnati opens a four-game home series Thursday against Milwaukee.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.52 ERA) starts Friday at St. Louis. He allowed six hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings of his previous start, a 7-5 loss to the Orioles last Saturday.
PHOENIX — For the first time in 52 days, A.J. Pollock was back Monday where he belonged — in center field and hitting fourth in the Arizona lineup after missing time with a fractured left thumb.
St. Louis, meanwhile, seems to be in a juggling mode where its outfield is concerned. Jose Martinez, who has spent most of the first half at first base, did pregame work in right field for the second straight day, and that appears that is his position moving forward.
Pollock was hitless in four at-bats and scored a run, but the Cardinals took the first game of the series when Yadier Molina had two hits, including a homer and three RBIs in a 6-3 victory Monday.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo apologized to Molina behind the batting cage before the game for language he used in an argument the second inning of an April 8 game in St. Louis. Lovullo was ejected and Molina had to be restrained as players from both teams entered the field.
“Everything is in the past,” Molina said. “I have a bunch of respect for him and the organization in Arizona.”
Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke is to oppose St. Louis right-hander Jack Flaherty in the second game of the series Tuesday.
St. Louis broke a four-game losing streak and, with four runs in the first inning, had a lead for the first time since last Tuesday. The Diamondbacks have lost four in a row.
“It is frustrating,” Lovullo said. “I think we are a better team then we have showed these last four games. The season has its ups and downs and we should know that. We had a situation just like this before.”
Pollock, who has missed extended time because of injuries the last two seasons, will be monitored Adam Vinatieri Jersey , Lovullo said.
“He wants to play every day. He makes that perfectly clear,” Lovullo said. “He does not like to come out of the lineup, and I love that. But I explained to him that we’re going to control his playing time and his innings until he’s one hundred percent removed from any more things popping up.”
Pollock was slashing .293/.346.503 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 40 games before his injury.
Martinez leads the Cardinals with 52 RBIs, but he also leads NL first basemen with seven errors. Rookie Tyler O’Neill started in right field Monday, with Matt Carpenter at first.
“One of those tough conversations,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez’s position shift.
“He is so good offensively. And trying to figure out ways to maybe help our defense a little bit on the infield. We’re going to be working him as hard as we can to get him comfortable there and plug him into the equation. There are still going to be some opportunities at first.”
Martinez, slashing .299/.367/.496 with 13 and a team-high 52 RBIs, has played 72 games at first base this season after basically splitting time between first and the corner outfield spots in last season. Left field is now covered by free agent sign Marcell Ozuna.
“Tyler O’Neill is going to play,” Matheny said. “We know when he gets hot, he’s got the potential to do good things for us. Try to get a good look at him while he is in play mode. He’s been swinging it well. Just some different looks. Get some other guys engaged in the infield, too.”
Greinke, 8-5 with a 3.41 ERA, has 13 scoreless innings in his last two starts, victories at Pittsburgh and Miami as part of a three-win road trip. He has won three starts in a row and was 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA in six June starts, dropping his ERA to the lowest it has been since the second week of the season.
“He’s on a Zack Greinke run,” Lovullo said. “He had a real nice run from the middle of May last year until the end of the season, where he just grinds up innings. Fast innings, which equal wins.”
Greinke is 12-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 19 career appearances against the Cardinals. He has more victories against only team, Detroit (13). Greinke is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in eight home starts this season and is 16-2 at Chase Field the last two years.
Rookie Flaherty, 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA, has made quality starts in four of his 11 appearances and had a career-high 13 strikeouts while giving up only one hit in seven innings of a no-decision against Milwaukee on June 22. He gave up four runs in four innings in his last appear, a 5-1 loss to Cleveland.
Flaherty, 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five starts on the road, has never faced Arizona.