CINCINNATI — One day after a rough performance at the plate, Ender Inciarte got back on track — in a big way.
Inciarte tied his career high with five hits and drove in a career-high five runs, helping the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 13-8 on Sunday.
Atlanta set a season high for runs and collected 14 hits in the rubber game of the weekend series. Danny Santana had four hits and three RBIs, including his first home run since being acquired in a trade with Minnesota on May 8, and Matt Adams went deep for the third time in the last two games.
“It was a good thing we kept scoring,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “No lead is safe in this ballpark. I’ve seen some crazy things happen here. In this ballpark, it’s almost a save situation with a five-run lead.”
Inciarte also scored twice and reached on a walk after matching his career worst by going 0 for 6 during Saturday’s 6-5, 12-inning win.
“Of course, it feels good, but I try not to think about it,” said Inciarte, who also went 0 for 6 in Cincinnati in 2014.
“Tomorow’s another day, and you shouldn’t be thinking about today.”
Snitker wasn’t surprised by Inciarte’s turnaround.
“He’s a pro,” Snitker said. “That’s who he is. He’s able to put yesterday behind him.”
Cincinnati lost for the fifth time in six games. Zack Cozart homered twice and drove in five runs, but Amir Garrett lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his first start since May 23 after being sidelined with right hip inflammation.
Inciarte had the big blow in Atlanta’s five-run third, belting a three-run shot to right-center to give Atlanta a 9-2 lead. He also singled and scored on shortstop Cozart’s two-out throwing error in the first and hit an RBI single in the second.
Garrett (3-4) was charged with nine runs and seven hits, including three homers. The rookie left-hander is 1-4 with a 9.08 ERA in his last seven starts after winning his first two outings.
“I was trying to do too much with the changeup,” Garrett said. “It is easy to fix. I need to get in the bullpen and work on it. I’m confident in myself. I’m going to get back on track.”
“Amir was trying too hard,” manager Bryan Price said. “He had the good starts and his changeup has come a long way. He’s going to learn some things and be a better pitcher for it.”
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran (5-4) wasn’t much better, allowing seven runs and 11 hits in five innings.
“He was a little flat,” Snitker said. “When he missed, they made him pay. You can’t miss in this ballpark.”
Cozart hit a two-run triple in the fourth, Arismendy Alcantara added a two-run homer in the fifth and Cozart belted a solo shot in the sixth to help the Reds pull within three. But Atlanta tacked on two more runs in the ninth, capped by Inciarte’s RBI single.
Braves catcher Tyler Flowers was hit by a pitch for the 10th time this season. Flowers and fellow Atlanta catcher Kurt Suzuki have been plunked a combined 17 times in 2017. Ten teams went into Sunday’s schedule with fewer than 17 batters having been hit by pitches.
WHAT A RELIEF
Jake Buchanan replaced Garrett and pitched a career-high 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits in the longest outing by a Reds reliever this season. He also hit an RBI single in the fourth and scored on Cozart’s triple.
“You can’t have asked more from Jake Buchanan,” Price said. “He gave us a chance to come back.”
HATE TO LEAVE
Atlanta first baseman Matt Adams has 14 homers and 36 RBIs in his career against Cincinnati, including 10 homers and 22 RBIs at Great American Ball Park.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton and RF Scott Schebler didn’t start, one day after straining their left shoulders on dives for balls.
Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-6, 6.99 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener of Atlanta’s four-game series against Philadelphia on Monday.