MLB: Reds 11, Braves 2
Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2011
By Joe Kay
CINCINNATI — Derek Lowe had trouble finding the words for what had just happened.
Cruising along with a 2-1 lead, it all came apart for Lowe and the Atlanta Braves. Edgar Renteria replaced injured rookie shortstop Zack Cozart and drove in three runs Saturday, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to an 11-2 victory.
A close game turned into a blowout in very few at-bats.
“We were just head-scratching, how that game got turned around,” Lowe said.
It went bad all at once.
Cozart hyperextended his left elbow while trying to make a tag in the fourth inning, getting Renteria off the bench. His two-run double off Lowe (6-8) started a three-run rally in the sixth inning that put the Reds ahead.
Brandon Phillips had a pair of run-scoring doubles, and Todd Frazier doubled with the bases loaded as Cincinnati pulled away.
Homer Bailey (5-4) threw 53 pitches in the first two innings, but made it through six on a 92-degree afternoon. Lowe’s bases-loaded double drove in a pair in the second.
It was Cincinnati’s highest-scoring game since an 11-2 win over Pittsburgh on April 16. The Reds scored seven runs in the seventh, matching their season high. It was the most runs off Atlanta’s staff in an inning this season.
“In the major leagues, it happens that quickly,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The Reds remain stuck in their win-one, lose-one pattern. They haven’t won consecutive games since June 14-15.
Cozart hurt his left elbow while trying to catch the ball and tag out the sliding Nate McLouth in the fourth. Cozart lost his glove and fell to the ground, grabbing his left elbow.
He covered his face with his right hand, fighting back pain, while a trainer examined the elbow.
X-rays were negative. There was no immediate word on how long he’d be out. Cozart was called up on July 7 and gave the Reds a boost at a troublesome position, hitting safely in his first seven games.
Lowe took a 2-1 lead into the sixth but couldn’t get another out. Jay Bruce, out of the lineup with an inner-ear problem, had a pinch-hit double, starting Cincinnati’s comeback. The Reds cobbled together five consecutive hits for a 4-2 lead, knocking Lowe from the game.
“I haven’t really seen a game turn around that fast, and I had everything to do with it,” Lowe said. “The turning point for me was hanging a breaking ball to Renteria. It kind of turned the momentum their way. It turned out to be a laugher.”
Renteria singled home another run off Scott Proctor in the seventh, when Cincinnati sent 11 batters to the plate. Frazier’s three-run double made it 11-2.
Bailey routinely fell behind in the count, setting himself up for a tough time. Atlanta couldn’t take full advantage, stranding eight runners during his six innings.
“We had him on the ropes early a couple of times,” second baseman Dan Uggla said.
Jason Heyward was thrown out at the plate while trying to score from second base on Freddie Freeman’s single in the first inning. Atlanta loaded the bases with one out in the second, and Lowe doubled for a 2-1 lead. Lowe leads the Braves’ pitching staff with eight hits and six RBIs.
Atlanta left the bases loaded in the inning when Brian McCann flied out to the warning track in center.
Uggla ran before the game, testing the sore left calf that kept him out of the lineup the two previous games. He was back in the lineup on Saturday and singled in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.
“When I first got to the field, I still didn’t think I’d be able to play,” Uggla said. “It was still store. Then I got out and ran around a little bit.”
Gonzalez offered to take him out of the game late, but Uggla played the whole way.
“He’s fine,” Gonzalez said. “I was a little worried about him in the seventh and eighth innings, standing around there in a long game. He said, ‘No, I’m fine.’ So that was a good sign.”
Notes: The crowd of 41,192 gave the Reds their 11th sellout, matching the record for a season at Great American Ball Park. .. Bruce left for a pinch-runner after his double in the sixth. … The Reds gave away 30,000 Jonny Gomes bobbleheads.