The Atlanta Braves' offense was virtually nonexistent in Monday night's loss to the Cincinnati Reds. The Braves were able to turn the tables on Tuesday night, as they jumped out to an early lead and defeated the Reds 6-2 to claim a series split.
The Braves staked starter Tim Hudson to a 6-0 lead after four innings, and Hudson didn't relinquish that lead over a strong seven innings of work. He gave up only two runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three.
“He’s our ace, and when he takes the mound we expect to win," catcher Brian McCann said of Hudson. "He only needs a couple runs but it’s nice to give him a little breather where he can go to work and not have to be too fine with all his pitches.”
Reds starter Johnny Cueto did not have his best outing and was roughed up for the first time all season. Cueto gave up six runs (five earned) in just four innings. Cueto had given up just six earned runs this season up until Tuesday night's contest.
McCann got the offensive outburst going with a solo home run in the second inning. He had a great night at the plate, with a home run, a single, and a walk. The real heroes, however, were Michael Bourn and Martin Prado. Both Bourn and Prado had three hits apiece and set the table for the run-producers in the middle of the order.
The Braves pulled away in the third inning, when they put four runs on the board. Prado and Chipper Jones each hit RBI singles, followed by a sacrifice fly by Dan Uggla. Jason Heyward then put the final tally on the scoring in the inning with an RBI double.
“We just grinded at-bats down," Bourn said. "We were making him work. BMac got to him early and that started it. Throughout our lineup, J-Hey had a big at-bat, grinding him down. That hurts a pitcher when you grind him down like that. We’ve been able to do that thus far. It’s some good pitching we’re facing, but we just try to work and continue to grind them.”
Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel pitched scoreless innings to close out the game.
“We’re a pretty good offense," McCann said. "Everybody battles every at-bat, and tonight was no different. We got one of the hottest pitchers in the league tonight. We got him in trouble early. That’s always a good sign when you’re going against a No. 1 to get to him in the first three or four innings.”
The Braves will send Mike Minor (2-2, 6.59 ERA) to the mound to face Mark Buehrle (2-4, 2.81 ERA) and the Miami Marlins in Atlanta on Wednesday night at 7:10 EDT.
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