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Atlanta Braves unable to solve Reds rookie in 5-1 loss
Atlanta loses cleanup hitter Kelly Johnson in loss
0514 Braves
Cincinnati Reds' Todd Frazier (21) steals second against Atlanta Braves second baseman Jace Peterson (8) during the eighth inning of a game on Wednesday in Cincinnati. The Reds won 5-1. - photo by John Minchillo

CINCINNATI — Reds rookie Raisel Iglesias wasn’t Atlanta’s only problem in a 5-1 loss on Wednesday.

The Braves also lost cleanup hitter Kelly Johnson after just two pitches. The missing left-handed power threat most likely helped Iglesias, who pitched eight innings of two-hit baseball in his second career start.

Johnson, Atlanta’s leading home run hitter with six, suffered a strained right oblique while swinging and missing the first pitch he saw from Iglesias. He fouled off the second pitch before leaving the game after a brief conversation at the plate with manager Fredi Gonzalez and an Atlanta trainer.

“Johnson’s been a guy who can hit behind Freeman against right-handers and give the other manager thoughts about pitching around Freeman,” Gonzalez said.

Johnson actually started feeling something toward the end of batting practice, he said.

“You always have little things, little pains, where you say, ‘What is that?’” he said. “After that first swing and miss, I knew something wasn’t right.”

Todd Frazier connected for his 12th home run of the season, Marlon Byrd added a solo shot and the Reds won the rubber match of the three-game series and seven-game season series between the teams.

The Braves have lost five of their last six.

Iglesias (1-0), a Cuba native, was recalled from Triple-A Louisville before the game. He took a no-hitter into the sixth.

Pinch-hitter Eric Young Jr. broke it up with a leadoff bloop single to shallow center field. Another pinch-hitter, Pedro Ciriaco, became the first batter to get past second base when he led off the eighth with a triple and scored on Nick Markasis’ groundout.

The 25-year-old Iglesias, who left with no decision in his debut on April 12 against St. Louis, allowed three walks and struck out five.

The Braves had two runners on base in one inning just once.

Joey Votto followed Zack Cozart’s first-inning double with a run-scoring line drive up the middle that glanced off of Atlanta starter Eric Stults’ glove on its way to center field.

That run was the first allowed by Stults (1-4) in the first inning in six starts this season.

Byrd led off the second with a 343-foot homer into the first row of the left field seats. Frazier made it 4-0 in third with his second homer in as many nights, a 432-foot shot to center field. Billy Hamilton tripled and scored on Cozart’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Stults (1-4) allowed six hits and five runs with one walk and three strikeouts over five innings. He’s lost his last three starts, giving up two home runs in each.

“He’s getting the ball over the plate,” Gonzalez said. “He doesn’t have the velocity to get away with being out over the plate.”


The Reds and Braves aren’t likely to meet again until 2016 after completing their series. Cincinnati won four.


Freddie Freeman’s hitting streak was snapped at nine games, while Markasis’ streak was stopped at eight.


Braves: Johnson will go on the disabled list and switch-hitting outfielder Todd Cunningham will join the Braves in Atlanta, Gonzalez said.

Reds: Zack Cozart returned to shortstop after missing two games with a sore left wrist. Kris Negron moved from shortstop to second in place of Brandon Phillips, who left Tuesday’s game with a sore left big toe.


Braves: The Braves on Friday open their second three-game series of the season at Miami, where they swept the Marlins to open the season.

Reds: Right-hander Johnny Cueto hopes to extend his mastery over the Giants in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday. Cueto is 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five career starts against San Francisco.

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