Mike Leake gave the Reds’ struggling offense the only run it would need.
The right-hander pitched into the seventh inning and boosted Cincinnati’s struggling offense by hitting a double and scoring as the Reds ended a seven-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 1-0 Saturday night.
Leake (10-11) gave up a pair of hits and walked three, leaving with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh. Jumbo Diaz got Tommy La Stella to hit into a forceout.
"He was unbelievable," catcher Brayan Pena said of Leake. "It was an amazing performance by him. He knew how much we needed this victory."
Aroldis Chapman, who pitched two innings on Friday night, fanned the three batters he faced in the ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances.
Leake opened the sixth with a double off Ervin Santana (13-7) and came around on Billy Hamilton’s sacrifice and Brandon Phillips’ two-out single. Leake has 67 career hits, the most by any pitcher in the majors since his debut in 2010.
The Reds managed only two hits — a pair of singles by Hamilton — while losing 3-1 in 12 innings on Friday night. They batted .198 during the seven-game losing streak and their pitching staff had an 8.31 ERA.
They ended the slump with a rare one-run win. Cincinnati is 19-31 in one-run games, the most such losses in the majors.
"It wasn’t just that we lost seven straight, but the way we lost them," manager Bryan Price said. "Gut-wrenching, late-game losses. Long winning streaks start with No. 1."
Santana gave up four hits and fanned seven in seven innings as he lost for the first time since the All-Star break. He was 6-0 in his last seven starts.
The Braves lost for only the second time in nine games. They’re 5-1 against the Reds this season.
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 56 minutes by rain. There have been two postponements, one suspended game and 14 rain delays at Great American Ball Park this season totaling 17 hours, 21 minutes.
Both starters got a lot of groundballs and quick outs on a muggy night.
Emilio Bonifacio singled on Leake’s second pitch, the Braves’ only hit through six innings. Leake got 14 of the first 18 outs by way of grounders or strikeouts.
Santana was equally stingy. Jack Hannahan opened the Reds’ third with a single, their only hit until Leake doubled in the sixth. Ten of Santana’s first 15 outs were by grounders or strikeouts.
Atlanta’s Justin Upton went 0 for 4, ending his hitting streak at 13 games.
Braves: Leadoff hitter Jason Heyward got a day to rest. He’d started the last 19 games. Manager Fredi Gonzalez plans to give someone else a rest on Sunday.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was hit on the side of the right hand in the fourth but stayed in the game. He’s played six games since returning from a torn ligament in his left thumb suffered July 11, going 5 for 23.
Braves: RHP Aaron Harang (10-7) faces his former team. Harang is 3-0 in four career starts against the Reds with a 2.16 ERA.
Reds: RHP Alfredo Simon (12-8) tries again for his first victory since he was chosen for his first All-Star Game. Simon is 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA in seven starts since the break.
RAIN, RAIN …
The Reds have had a total of 20 rain delays at home and on the road this season for a combined 20 hours, 24 minutes. They’ve had three games postponed — two in Cincinnati because of rain, another in Colorado because of a water main break — and one suspended overnight at Great American Ball Park.
The crowd of 41,502 represented Cincinnati’s seventh sellout crowd of the season. … It was the 17th 1-0 game in Great American’s 12-year history. … Phillips’ RBI was his first since returning from the DL. … Leake is 3 for 6 in his last three games with a pair of doubles. He has three doubles this season.