published Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Leake homers, Reds hit 4 in 4-1 win over Braves

  • photo
    Cincinnati Reds' Drew Stubbs (6) is congratulated by Bronson Arroyo after the Reds defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-1 in a baseball game, Monday, May 21, 2012 in Cincinnati. Stubbs hit two home runs in the game. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

By Joe Kay, The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Pitcher Mike Leake hit his first major league home run -- among three shots in a row by the Cincinnati Reds -- and allowed only two hits in eight innings Monday night for a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Drew Stubbs hit two of the career-high four homers allowed by Atlanta starter Mike Minor (2-4). All the runs scored on solo homers at one of the majors' most hitter-friendly ballparks.

Leake (1-5) finally got his first victory in eight starts this season, doing a little bit of everything. He struck out a season-high six and retired 14 in a row after Juan Francisco homered in the first inning.

Jose Arredondo walked two batters with two outs in the ninth. Sean Marshall retired Jason Heyward on a fly ball for his eighth save, completing the two-hitter.

Reds manager Dusty Baker did not use reliever Aroldis Chapman, who pitched in four of the previous five games. Chapman saved Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Yankees and Baker said Monday the hard-throwing lefty will get more chances to close when he's rested.

Minor had a strange outing. He went six innings and yielded only five hits, four of them homers.

The Reds were coming off a successful stay in New York that included three wins in five games against the Mets and Yankees. Back home, they got the best of another homer-filled game at Great American Ball Park.

Leake gave up a homer deep into the Braves' bullpen by Francisco in the second inning. The Reds had traded the third baseman to the Braves for reliever J.J. Hoover during spring training.

The Braves got only one other runner as far as second base against Leake, who threw 98 pitches and walked one.

Stubbs started the Reds' biggest homer splurge of the season by connecting in the first inning. The Reds wasted a chance to break the game open in the second when Joey Votto flied out with the bases loaded.

Leake hit a high, 1-2 fastball into the stands in left field with two outs in the fourth. He is the best hitter on Cincinnati's pitching staff and sprinted around the bases without fanfare, then got a congratulatory knuckle bump from Baker on the top step of the dugout.

Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart was in a 3-for-28 slump when he followed with another homer three pitches later, his fourth of the season. Stubbs came to bat, ran the count full and hit his fifth homer. It was the first time three Reds batters homered in succession since Sept. 10 at Colorado, when Chris Heisey, Votto and Jay Bruce did it against Alex White.

After Stubbs rounded the bases for the second time and got congratulations from everyone in the dugout, he stopped by Leake for a brief chat -- about hitting, no doubt.

Chipper Jones was out of the Braves' lineup for the third consecutive game with a swollen left calf, hit by a batted ball on Friday night. The Reds have put Jones' name on the side of the bases for the series, honoring him in his last season before retirement. Jones expects to miss another game or two.

The Braves' Brandon Beachy will start on the mound tonight, with Mat Latos going for Cincinnati.

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