Bruce’s pair of triples leads Reds to victory over Braves
Jason Marquis was not going to let a bruised forearm slow him down.
Despite taking a line drive from Kelly Johnson off his pitching arm in the second inning, he was able to pitch the Reds to an 8-4 win over the Braves on Saturday night.
The veteran righthander pitched 6 1-3 effective innings against the team that drafted him in 1996, giving up five hits and three runs while striking out four.
"I don’t bruise too easy," said Marquis, who bettered his record to 3-1. "It may have upped the adrenaline little bit. Glad I made the play, first off, getting the out. It wasn’t too bad throughout the rest of the game."
Jay Bruce hit two triples for the first time in his seven-year career, Marlon Byrd ended his slump with a home run, single and walk and Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart both homered for the Reds, who reached .500 for the season (12-12).
But it was Marquis and the bullpen that kept the Braves out of striking distance for much of the game after the Reds built a 4-0 lead.
"(Marquis) has been doing this for a long time," Frazier said. "He wants to be out there. You never know, it could be his last year. He doesn’t talk about it, but he understands the circumstances and he just wants to win. A guy like that, he’s a bulldog."
The Braves cut the lead to 4-2 on a home run by Cameron Maybin in the fifth, but the Reds answered right back with Byrd’s home run. When the Braves cut the lead to 6-3 in the seventh, Cozart added a two-run blast in the ninth to put things out of reach.
"We talk about the shutdowns," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "When we score, we don’t want the other team to come out and score."
Eric Stults (1-2) took the loss for the Braves, giving up six runs in seven innings.
Reds: Starting pitcher Homer Bailey will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on Friday in Cincinnati.
Braves: The Braves transferred LHP Mike Minor from the 15-day to 60-day DL. Minor has left shoulder inflammation and has no timetable for a return, according to Braves general manager John Hart. "We don’t see him coming back anytime soon," he said. "At this point, things haven’t progressed."
Reds: Ace Johnny Cueto (2-2) takes the mound for the finale of the four-game series. Four of Cueto’s first five appearances this season have been quality starts and he boasts a 1.95 ERA. Cueto threw eight shutout innings against the Braves in his only appearance against them in 2014 as the Reds lost 1-0 in 10 innings.
Braves: Julio Teheran (2-1) will look to bounce back three sub-par starts that have seen him surrender 12 runs in 15 innings (7.20 ERA). He said he is seeking to rely more on his fastball against the Reds, against whom he did not allow a run in 14 innings last season (1-0, 0.00).
HIT STREAK HALTED
Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s 13-game hit streak to start the season ended when he went 0-for-4. Byrd made a diving catch in left field in the fourth inning and Bruce made a sliding catch in right field in the sixth inning.
SECOND CHANCE FOR CIRIACO
Pedro Ciriaco is finally with the Braves. The infielder was told he made the Braves opening day roster two days before the season started, only to get shipped to Triple-A Gwinnet a day later to clear roster space following the Braves’ six-player deal with the Padres that included Craig Kimbrel. The Braves purchased his contract and he joined the team Saturday after 20 games with Gwinnet, where he hit .234. He is a career .270 hitter in parts of five Major League seasons and will be used as a utility infielder.
The Reds are 29 for 30 in stolen bases this season. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no team has stolen 29 of 30 bases to start a season since the "caught stealing" statistic started being kept in 1951. The Reds have six steals in the series and are second in MLB behind the Astros.