(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds will try to win another home series
against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon, though they may prefer
closing it out with a touch less drama in the third game of the set at Great
American Ball Park.
The Reds dropped Monday's opener and seemed on the verge of two straight
losses Tuesday before Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back solo
home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to yield a 5-4 victory.
With two outs and Craig Kimbrel (0-1) pitching, Mesoraco connected on a 3-2
pitch to tie the game. Choo followed with his second home run of the night.
The victory gave Cincy skipper Dusty Baker his 1,600th career win.
"That's exciting. That's why you play nine and play all the outs," said Baker.
"You never really know. We beat one of the best closers in the game today."
Donald Lutz and Brandon Phillips each drove in one run for the Reds. Starter
Homer Bailey had seven strikeouts but surrendered four runs on five hits and
four walks over five innings.
Jonathan Broxton (1-1) pitched a perfect top of the ninth to earn the win.
Brian McCann drove in two runs while Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman had an RBI
apiece for the Braves, who were looking to win their first series against the
Reds on the road since April 24-26, 2009.
Braves starter Kris Medlen allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over
seven innings to earn a no-decision.
"When you don't add on in this ballpark against that club that's pretty good
and has got the history here at their ballpark, you don't add runs," said
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "We didn't score after the fifth. You got to
get yourself in those situations."
Cincinnati has won eight of its last 10 head-to-head meetings with Atlanta,
and seven of eight over the Braves at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds send Mike Leake to the mound for the finale in search of a third win
over the Braves in his fourth career meeting.
He's allowed just three earned runs in 20 complete innings against Atlanta,
allowing 15 hits while walking five and striking out 14.
Braves batters have managed a meager .208 average against him.
In 2013, Leake began with consecutive no-decisions but has since won two of
three verdicts across four starts, including a 6-5 triumph over the Cubs in
Chicago on May 3, when he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
In 34 2/3 overall innings, he's been touched for 42 hits, 17 runs and a .304
composite batting average.
Atlanta replies with lefty Mike Minor, who faces the Reds for the second time
in his 60th career start.
The 24-year-old dropped the first meeting after allowing four runs on five
hits in six innings of work, and is 9-10 in 29 lifetime starts away from home.
He opened 2013 with three wins in four starts, but has since gone 0-1 in two
more while allowing nine hits and nine runs in 13 2/3 innings against Detroit
In his three victories - against the Chicago Cubs, Miami and Colorado - Minor
gave up 15 hits and five runs in 19 1/3 innings.
The Sports Network