Chipper, Escobar power Braves past Reds
Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones already had an impressive track record against Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo.
Yunel Escobar got angry enough to start building his own.
Escobar, who was hit by a pitch Friday, drove in two runs with a double and a single in the first two innings against Arroyo and finished a triple short of the cycle with a career-high four RBIs as Atlanta beat Cincinnati 10-2 on Saturday.
"Getting hit by a pitch motivated me somewhat, but not necessarily," Escobar said through an interpreter. "I thought (Edinson Volquez) threw at me yesterday, but that was yesterday. I just happened to have a good day today."
Just in time, said manager Bobby Cox, who saw outfielder Garrett Anderson and catcher Brian McCann go on the disabled list Friday and Saturday.
"Escobar broke out," Cox said. "It was good to see. With McCann and Anderson out, we need some guys to pick us up. They can do it."
Jones hit a three-run homer and also drove in four runs while improving to 11-for-23 (.478) with three homers and 10 RBIs in his career against Arroyo. The Braves jumped on the right-hander for six runs in the first two innings and handed him his first loss in four starts.
"They're definitely a team that's given me trouble with over the last few years," said Arroyo, who is 4-3 with a 6.50 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Braves.
Escobar and Jones - the Braves' No. 2 and 3 hitters - went a combined 5-for-8 with two home runs, a double and eight RBIs in support of Derek Lowe, who struck out a season-high eight in seven innings to help the Braves to their second three-game winning streak of the season.
Lowe (2-1) allowed two runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out the top three hitters in the Cincinnati batting order with runners on first and second in the fifth.
"I threw a lot of curve balls," Lowe said. "I threw them a lot for strikes. My strikeouts are more by luck. With the score, I'm trying to minimize the damage. If one scores, then maybe I can keep the second run from scoring. The strikeout were huge but they were a bonus."
Plate umpire Mike Estabrook warned Lowe and both benches after Joey Votto was hit by a pitch in the first inning. The benches and bullpens emptied with no punches thrown on Friday when Escobar took a couple of steps toward the mound after being hit by Volquez's pitch.
Escobar went straight to first base after getting hit by Arroyo in the fourth inning.
Estabrook ejected Cincinnati center fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. and manager Dusty Baker after Hairston objected to a called third strike in the third inning.
Escobar snapped a 0-for-10 slump as Atlanta's first four batters reached base while the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. He followed Kelly Johnson's leadoff walk with a double to left and scored on Jones' single to right.
Jones followed Escobar's run-scoring single with a three-run homer to give Atlanta a 6-0 lead in the second. The homer was Jones' second of the season and first since April 7 off Jamie Moyer at Philadelphia.
Alex Gonzalez drove in the Reds' only two runs in the second with his first homer since Aug. 9, 2007, against Los Angeles. Gonzalez missed all of last season with a knee injury.
Jordan Schafer and former Red David Ross hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the sixth, and Escobar added a two-run homer to left-center later in the inning to knock Arroyo out of the game. Arroyo (3-1), who won his first three starts of a season for the first time in his career, allowed nine runs and nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings.
The Braves added a run in the eighth against Mike Lincoln on Schafer's leadoff walk, a wild pitch and pinch-hitter Greg Norton's double to left-center field.
The Braves placed C Brian McCann on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with a left eye infection. C Chris Sammons was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Reds OF Willy Taveras got Saturday off after making 14 consecutive starts. C Ramon Hernandez also didn't start Saturday, and manager Dusty Baker said SS Alex Gonzalez would get Sunday off ... Atlanta 1B Casey Kotchman went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to seven games, one short of matching the career high he set last April.