ATLANTA — Jay Bruce had a three-run homer in the first, Brandon Finnegan pitched six strong innings and the surging Cincinnati Reds escaped a jam in the ninth to beat the weak-hitting Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Finnegan (3-4) allowed one run and four hits with three walks.
Atlanta native Blake Wood loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth on walks to Adonis Garcia and Jace Peterson, and a single by Tyler Flowers.
Wood struck out pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski before getting Mallex Smith to hit into a game-ending double play for his first save.
The Reds have won nine of their last 13, including the first two games of the four-game series with the Braves.
Julio Teheran (2-7) allowed three runs and three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts for Atlanta.
The Braves have lost four straight and 10 of 12 and have the majors’ worst record. They fell 20 games below .500 just including home games (7-27).
With one out in the first, Teheran walked Joey Votto and gave up a single to Brandon Phillips before Bruce pulled a pitch into the right-field seats for his 15th homer.
One out after Bruce’s homer, Kyle Waldrop reached on second baseman Peterson’s fielding error. Teheran then recorded 17 consecutive outs before Waldrop’s double to right field with one out in the seventh. Waldrop made his first career start.
The Braves’ only run off Finnegan came in the fourth. Garcia singled, stole second, moved to third on Peterson’s single and scored on Teheran’s sacrifice bunt.
Right-hander J.J. Hoover, recalled from Triple-A Louisville before the game, pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Finnegan. Hoover opened the season as the Reds’ closer but was optioned to Louisville on May 7 after posting a 14.34 ERA with one save in two chances over 12 appearances.
Finnegan had his teammates in the dugout trying to hide their laughter after he took a tumble on the mound in the first. Smith was on second base when Finnegan spun around on the mound for a pickoff throw. Before he could throw, the spin sent the left-hander crashing to the mound. He smiled as he rose and regained his composure.
Reds: INF Jordan Pacheco was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 3, with right shoulder tendinitis. Pacheco was sent to Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment.
Braves: SS Erick Aybar, hit by a pitch in his ribs in Sunday’s game, was scratched from the lineup due to soreness. X-rays were negative. He wore a heavy wrap around his chest before the game and could be held out again on Wednesday night. … RHP Shea Simmons, recovering from Tommy John surgery, has tendinitis near his shoulder. His rehab assignment with Double-A Mississippi is on hold for at least one week.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (0-0, 1.50) will make his second start of the season and his third career start against the Braves on Wednesday night. DeSclafani began the season on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. He is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against Atlanta, both in 2015.
Braves: RHP Bud Norris will try to carry momentum from an impressive home win over the Cubs. Norris (2-7, 4.75) allowed only four hits and one run over seven innings in a 5-1 win over Chicago on Friday.