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Atlanta at Cincinnati

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Atlanta (19-12) «1101100307111
Cincinnati (18-15)000200020491

Simmons homers twice as Braves take down Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Andrelton Simmons is starting to get noticed for more than those amazing defensive plays.

The young shortstop homered twice and drove in a career-high four runs on Monday night, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 7-4 victory that ended the Cincinnati Reds' winning streak at three games.

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The Braves won at a place where they've had little success lately. They were 0-4 at Great American Ball Park last year and 14-25 overall since it opened for the 2003 season.

Simmons led the way on offense, something he hasn't had to do very often. The first multihomer game of his career allowed the Braves to get ahead and pull away.

"When all is said and done after this year, we're going to be talking about him as one of the best shortstops in baseball," catcher Brian McCann said.

Simmons worked on his swing when Saturday's game against the Mets was rained out, trying to keep his bat back a little longer so he could generate more power. The work is quickly paying off.

"That rainout really helped," said Simmons, who has four homers. "I feel like I'm where I want to be right now."

He showed a little more defense, too. His best play came in the seventh, when he caught a hurried throw between his legs and tagged out out Shin-Soo Choo as he tried to steal second base.

"He's pretty acrobatic," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I remember someone asking me in spring training: What's the best defensive play he's made? It's the next one. It's one after another with him."

Paul Maholm (4-3) held down an offense that's been all-or-nothing. The left-hander allowed four hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Cincinnati stranded five runners in scoring position overall.

Craig Kimbrel gave up a pair of singles in the ninth before fanning Joey Votto, picking up his 10th save in 12 opportunities.

Atlanta scored in four of five innings against Bronson Arroyo (2-4), who gave up eight hits, walked two and allowed four runs in his shortest outing of the season.

"They have a really powerful lineup with a lot of threats, which makes you be a little more nitpicky," Arroyo said. "You end up throwing a lot more pitches than you normally would. You'd think the only guy you don't worry about hitting home runs is the eighth guy [Simmons], and he ends up taking me deep."

Simmons had a solo shot and an RBI single off Arroyo. He added a two-run homer in the eighth off Logan Ondrusek, matching his career high for hits.

Freddie Freeman also singled and doubled and drove in a run off Arroyo, who needed 98 pitches to get through five innings. Jordan Schafer added his first career pinch-hit homer as the Braves pulled away.

The injury-sapped Braves got a little closer to full strength when McCann was activated off the disabled list, completing a comeback from surgery on his throwing shoulder last October. The six-time All-Star catcher started and went 0 for 4 with a walk.

"Felt great," McCann said. "The first day couldn't have gone any better."

Right fielder Jason Heyward also increased his workout activities while recovering from surgery to remove his appendix on April 22. The Braves will decide by the end of the week whether he's ready to start a rehab assignment in the minors.

The Braves made it tough on Arroyo from the outset. Freeman singled home a run in the first inning, but Atlanta left the bases loaded when Dan Uggla struck out.

Simmons led off the second inning with a homer down the third-base line. Uggla opened the fourth with his second triple of the season -- a ball into the gap in right-center field -- and scored on Simmons' single off the glove of Zack Cozart in the hole at shortstop for a 3-0 lead.

Evan Gattis doubled home a run in the fifth off Arroyo. The Braves pulled away with three runs in the eighth off Ondrusek.

Votto doubled home a run in the eighth inning, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

Notes

  • The Braves optioned utility player Tyler Pastornicky to Triple-A Gwinnett to open a roster spot for McCann.
  • Simmons has six multihit games in his last 14.
  • Choo was hit by a pitch for the 11th time.
  • Alfredo Simon fanned the six Braves he faced, the first Reds pitcher to strike out six in a row since Aaron Harang in 2008.
  • Reds RHP Johnny Cueto threw 25 pitches in the bullpen without problem. Cueto has been on the DL since April 15 with a strained muscle in his back.
  • NFL receiver and Hall of Fame inductee Cris Carter threw a ceremonial pitch to former NBA player and coach Butch Carter. Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison took out the lineup card.
 
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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Shortstop Andrelton Simmons connects for two homers and a career-high four RBI in the Braves' win over the Reds. (Getty Images)
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons connects for two homers and a career-high four RBI in the Braves' win over the Reds. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

Z. Cozart
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Atlanta

A. Simmons
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 4
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
B.J. Upton, CF4000142 .148
Chris Johnson, 3B4100122 .323
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
Justin Upton, RF4120110 .286
Freddie Freeman, 1B5021012 .319
Evan Gattis, LF4011013 .260
    Jordan Walden, P0000000 .000
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
   a- Ramiro Pena, PH-3B1000011 .293
Brian McCann, C4000113 .000
Dan Uggla, 2B4220024 .196
Andrelton Simmons, SS4234010 .252
Paul Maholm, P3000010 .125
    Cory Gearrin, P0000000 .000
    Luis Avilan, P0000000 .000
   b- Jordan Schafer, PH-LF1111000 .278
Totals387117415  
a-struck out for O'Flaherty in the 9th
b-homered for Avilan in the 8th
Batting
2B - Freddie Freeman (4, Arroyo), Evan Gattis (8, Arroyo)
3B - Dan Uggla (2, Arroyo)
HR - Andrelton Simmons 2 (4, Arroyo, Ondrusek), Jordan Schafer (1, Ondrusek)
RBI - Freddie Freeman (16), Evan Gattis (19), Andrelton Simmons 4 (15), Jordan Schafer (3)
2-OUT RBI - Andrelton Simmons 2 (2), Jordan Schafer (2)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Evan Gattis (3, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Paul Maholm (W,4-3) 5.2422260 3.09
Cory Gearrin (H,1) 0.2000010 1.26
Luis Avilan (H,4) 0.2000110 3.27
Jordan Walden0322000 4.38
Eric O'Flaherty (H,10) 1000000 1.93
Craig Kimbrel (S,10) 1200010 2.13
HBP - Choo (by Paul Maholm)
WP - Cory Gearrin (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 105-64, Cory Gearrin 10-5, Luis Avilan 11-5, Jordan Walden 11-6, Eric O'Flaherty 11-7, Craig Kimbrel 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 9-2, Cory Gearrin 1-0, Eric O'Flaherty 2-1
Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 24, Cory Gearrin 2, Luis Avilan 2, Jordan Walden 3, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Craig Kimbrel 5
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shin-Soo Choo, CF3010111 .331
Zack Cozart, SS5220024 .207
Joey Votto, 1B4211114 .320
Brandon Phillips, 2B4021000 .288
Jay Bruce, RF4001022 .246
Todd Frazier, 3B4011011 .239
Devin Mesoraco, C4000013 .224
Derrick Robinson, LF1010100 .286
   a- Cesar Izturis, PH1000000 .161
    Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
    J.J. Hoover, P0000000 .000
   b- Xavier Paul, PH1000000 .265
Bronson Arroyo, P0000000 .000
    Alfredo Simon, P0000000 .500
   c- Donald Lutz, PH-LF2010010 .200
Totals3349439  
a-grounded out for D. Robinson in the 7th
b-lined out for Hoover in the 9th
c-struck out for Simon in the 7th
Batting
2B - Zack Cozart (4, Walden), Joey Votto (7, Walden), Brandon Phillips (8, Maholm)
SH - Bronson Arroyo 2 (4)
RBI - Joey Votto (13), Brandon Phillips (28), Jay Bruce (16), Todd Frazier (24)
CS - Shin-Soo Choo (1, 2nd base by Avilan/McCann)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Cozart-B. Phillips-Votto
E - Devin Mesoraco (3, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Bronson Arroyo (L,2-4) 5844271 4.30
Alfredo Simon 2000060 4.32
Logan Ondrusek 1333112 5.25
J.J. Hoover 1000110 2.87
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 95-66, Alfredo Simon 26-19, Logan Ondrusek 31-15, J.J. Hoover 17-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 6-2, Logan Ondrusek 1-1
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 25, Alfredo Simon 6, Logan Ondrusek 7, J.J. Hoover 4
Game Information
Attendance - 19308
Game Time - 3:21
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Mike Winters