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Owings beaned in the 9th, gets win over Braves
Gainesville High graduate Micah Owings, lays on the ground after being hit in the head by Atlanta Braves pitcher Kenshin Kawakami during the 12th inning Sunday in Atlanta. - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Once Micah Owings realized he was OK, one of his biggest concerns was making sure his mom knew he was fine.

Owings, a Gainesville High graduate, walked off the field after getting beaned with the bases loaded in the 12th inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on Sunday for their seventh consecutive win.

Owings (7-12), who pitched two scoreless innings, was hit on the left side of his batting helmet by an 0-1 fastball from Kawakami. Owings was on his back for several seconds before medical staff from the Reds and Braves helped him sit up and walk to the dugout.

The scary play came in front of several family members, who came in from Gainesville, hoping to see Owings get into the game.

“Yeah, it was nice to have them here even though I’m sure my mom was flipping out from the get-go, but I tried to reassure everybody when I knew that I could see and that everything was fine,” Owings said. “I wasn’t dizzy or anything, but I wanted everyone to know because I knew they would be worrying and praying at the same time.”

According to Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, Owings was bleeding “at the ear” in the dugout.

“He can’t fly for a couple of days,” Baker said. “But he was in good humor about it. The doctors are in there now stitching him up.”
Joey Votto scored on the play, and Corky Miller followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Kawakami (7-11), who has started 25 of 27 games, allowed two runs and two hits in two innings. Atlanta has lost five straight, matching its season-worst skid set April 14-18.

Cincinnati trailed 2-1 before Drew Stubbs hit his fifth homer against Mike Gonzalez in the eighth. The Reds have won 12 of 14.

“Anytime a guy gets hit, it’s a scary situation,” said Stubbs, who finished with three hits. “It could’ve been much worse — a concussion that puts him on the DL — but I was ready for the game to end in the ninth.”

The Braves wasted a terrific start by Tim Hudson, who allowed one run and four hits over seven innings in his second game since returning from elbow surgery. The right-hander retired the last 14 batters he faced while making his first appearance at Turner Field since beating Washington on July 18, 2008.

“It was a tough loss today,” Hudson said. “I wish we could have pulled this one out. For the most part things are starting to zero in for me. My curveball and my split were really good today. Those are pitches I haven’t had in a really long time.”

Johnny Cueto also turned in a strong start for Cincinnati, striking out nine while allowing one run and three hits over six innings. The right-hander was attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time since June 25 at Toronto and July 1 against Arizona.

Jared Burton replaced Cueto in the seventh and former Reds catcher David Ross hit his first pitch for his seventh homer, giving Atlanta a 2-1 lead.

Owings, also one of Cincinnati’s top pinch hitters, wasn’t sure how long he would be unable to play. In 169 career at-bats, Owings has eight homers, 30 RBIs and a .538 slugging percentage.

“I don’t think I could have gotten out of the way of it anyway,” he said. “Luckily, I was looking for a slider.”

Kawakami, speaking through an interpreter, apologized and Owings said he had no hard feelings.

“The sign was 2-seamer inside,” Kawakami said. “(Ross) held up his glove high, and I tried to jam it, knowing he was going to come up swinging. Just instantly, I lost the feeling of trying to be aggressive after that. It’s the worst place to hit a person.”

"Of course, I was scared for him.”

NOTES: Braves LF Garret Anderson held onto Paul Janish’s pinch-hit flyout in the eighth despite colliding with CF Nate McLouth. Neither player appeared hurt and both stayed in the game. ... Because RHP Justin Lehr has a slight groin pull, RHP Homer Bailey will start for the Reds on Monday at Colorado. Baker said LHP Matt Maloney will be called up from Double-A Carolina to start Tuesday against the Rockies. ... Atlanta 2B Kelly Johnson snapped a 0-for-20 slide with a pinch-hit single in the seventh. ... Before the game, Atlanta recalled RHP Manny Acosta from Triple-A Gwinnett and sent down RHP Luis Valdez.

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