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Atlanta at Cincinnati

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Atlanta (66-60)1200400007120
Cincinnati (55-70) «00502100x8131

Phillips plays hero, Reds rally past Braves in wild contest

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Blame it on the ballpark. Or, maybe the humidity was the problem. Perhaps it was the strike zone.

Whatever the cause for the Braves' latest loss, the outcome is clear: Atlanta is looking up from its deepest hole of the season.

Brandon Phillips hit a solo homer and a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-7 victory. The Braves fell a season-high six games behind the New York Mets in the NL East, and couldn't quite agree on the reason why.

"In this ballpark, anything can happen," manager Bobby Cox said.

No lead lasted for long at one of the majors' most hitter-friendly ballparks. There were three blown leads on a hot, sticky night.

Phillips' solo homer in the fifth helped the Reds come from two runs down to tie the game at 7. He broke the tie an inning later with a run-scoring single off Peter Moylan (4-3), who hit two batters during the Reds' go-ahead rally.

Moylan had trouble gripping the ball on a humid night.

"The ball just kept slipping out of my hand," Moylan said. "I've never had that happen before."

Cincinnati's bullpen has been among the majors' worst all season, but held up this time. Left-hander Bill Bray (3-0) allowed only one hit in 1 1/3 innings, and David Weathers pitched around a single and a walk to get the final three outs for his 26th save in 31 chances.

"The offense has done a great job battling back and keeping us in ballgames," Bray said.

The Braves have gone only 19-18 since the All-Star break and lost four games in the standings. They lead the NL in road batting average, but weren't able to make another big night by the offense hold up.

Phillips had three hits, and Jorge Cantu drove in three runs with a double and single, helping the Reds overcome deficits of 3-0 and 7-5.

Cantu was traded to the Reds from Tampa Bay on July 19 and was called up from the minors on Monday after Jeff Conine was traded to the Mets.

"I'm starting over," Cantu said. "The past is the past. Let's leave it like that. A fresh start is always a good thing. I even told my dad when I got traded, I feel like I'm breathing better. Now, here we go."

Brian McCann led the Braves with a two-run homer off starter Bobby Livingston, who gave up seven runs in only 4 2/3 innings. McCann had a grand slam in the opening game of the series at Great American Ball Park, where he is 15-for-32 career with five homers.

There were plenty of hits to go around in this one.

Mark Teixeira singled home a run in the first inning to get it going, extending his tear since he joined the Braves in a seven-player swap with Texas on July 31. The first baseman has driven in a run in 14 of his 19 games with Atlanta, piling up 26 RBI overall.

Braves left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes, called up from Triple-A to start the game, lasted only 2 2/3 innings. The Reds scored five times in the third, when Reyes walked three batters to set the rally in motion. Cantu's two-run double made it 5-3.

Reyes implied that plate umpire Gerry Davis had a small strike zone that contributed to his problems.

"I felt good out there today," Reyes said. "I threw the pitches I wanted to throw. I got more outs than (will show up) in the box score."

Andruw Jones tripled home a pair of runs to tie it in the fifth, and McCann followed with his second homer in two games.

Phillips hit a solo homer off Ron Mahay in the fifth, and Cantu singled home another run to tie it at 7 later in the inning. Phillips broke the tie an inning later with his single to right field -- Jeff Francoeur threw Jeff Keppinger out at the plate as he tried to score from second on the hit.

Notes

The Braves put LHP Chuck James on the 15-day DL because of tightness in the back of his pitching shoulder. James was originally scheduled to start on Tuesday. ... They also gave RHP Tanyon Sturtze his unconditional release. He hasn't made it back from shoulder surgery last year. ... OF Norris Hopper led off the Reds' first inning with his 14th bunt single. ... The Reds haven't decided who will take LHP Phil Dumatrait's spot in the rotation. He was optioned to the minors Tuesday and replaced by reliever Kirk Saarloos. ... Keppinger extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Cincinnati

J. Cantu
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Atlanta Braves
Yunel Escobar, SS5132011 .322
Matt Diaz, LF5120012 .347
Chipper Jones, 3B5010005 .331
Mark Teixeira, 1B4011111 .296
    Scott Thorman, PR0000000 .218
Jeff Francoeur, RF5110014 .305
Andruw Jones, CF4112002 .214
Brian McCann, C4222000 .275
Kelly Johnson, 2B3110010 .291
Jo-Jo Reyes, P1000012 .333
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .250
   a- Martin Prado, PH1000001 .279
    Ron Mahay, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Willie Harris, PH1000010 .313
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals38712717  
a-grounded out for Villarreal in the 5th
b-struck out for Moylan in the 8th
Batting
2B - Yunel Escobar (14, Livingston), Brian McCann (32, Livingston)
3B - Andruw Jones (2, Livingston)
HR - Brian McCann (14, Livingston)
SH - Oscar Villarreal (1)
RBI - Yunel Escobar 2 (23), Mark Teixeira (75), Andruw Jones 2 (81), Brian McCann 2 (73)
2-OUT RBI - Andruw Jones 2 (32), Brian McCann 2 (30)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1
DP - Escobar-Johnson-Teixeira
Atlanta Braves
Jo-Jo Reyes 2.2455410 9.62
Oscar Villarreal 1.1100000 4.08
Ron Mahay (BS,2) 1422021 2.68
Peter Moylan (L,4-3) 2211100 1.95
Rafael Soriano 1200010 3.72
IBB - Dunn by Peter Moylan
HBP - Keppinger (by Peter Moylan), Encarnacion (by Peter Moylan)
WP - Oscar Villarreal (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Jo-Jo Reyes 53-28, Oscar Villarreal 12-7, Ron Mahay 30-19, Peter Moylan 32-16, Rafael Soriano 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jo-Jo Reyes 3-3, Oscar Villarreal 2-2, Peter Moylan 4-1
Batters Faced - Jo-Jo Reyes 15, Oscar Villarreal 5, Ron Mahay 7, Peter Moylan 10, Rafael Soriano 5
Cincinnati Reds
Norris Hopper, CF-LF4120000 .319
Jeff Keppinger, SS4110001 .377
Ken Griffey Jr., RF3110200 .282
Brandon Phillips, 2B5132014 .278
Adam Dunn, LF3221212 .266
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4122002 .268
Jorge Cantu, 1B4023003 .238
    Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
    Josh Hamilton, CF0000000 .283
Ryan Jorgensen, C4000013 .182
Bobby Livingston, P1100100 .280
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
   a- Mark Bellhorn, PH1000012 .091
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Scott Hatteberg, 1B1000000 .300
Totals34813854  
a-struck out for Majewski in the 5th
Batting
2B - Adam Dunn (21, Mahay), Jorge Cantu (2, Villarreal)
HR - Brandon Phillips (23, Mahay)
SH - Norris Hopper (6)
RBI - Brandon Phillips 2 (72), Adam Dunn (85), Edwin Encarnacion 2 (50), Jorge Cantu 3 (7)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Dunn (38), Edwin Encarnacion 2 (21), Jorge Cantu 2 (4)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Keppinger-B. Phillips-Cantu
E - Ryan Jorgensen (1, Throwing(foul bunt))
Cincinnati Reds
Bobby Livingston 4.21076041 5.27
Gary Majewski 0.1000000 10.03
Bill Bray (W,3-0) 1.1100010 1.80
Jared Burton (H,6) 1.2000010 2.83
David Weathers (S,26) 1100110 3.53
HBP - Johnson (by Bobby Livingston)
Pitches-Strikes - Bobby Livingston 92-57, Gary Majewski 2-2, Bill Bray 8-8, Jared Burton 16-11, David Weathers 18-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bobby Livingston 6-5, Gary Majewski 1-0, Bill Bray 1-1, Jared Burton 2-2, David Weathers 2-0
Batters Faced - Bobby Livingston 26, Gary Majewski 1, Bill Bray 4, Jared Burton 5, David Weathers 5
Game Information
Attendance - 21039
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Chad Fairchild