published Monday, May 6th, 2013

Andrelton Simmons’ homers pace Atlanta Braves victory

Atlanta Braves' Andrelton Simmons hits a two-run home run off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Logan Ondrusek in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati. Atlanta won 7-4.
Atlanta Braves' Andrelton Simmons hits a two-run home run off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Logan Ondrusek in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati. Atlanta won 7-4.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CINCINNATI — Andrelton Simmons homered twice and drove in a career-high four runs Monday night, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 7-4 victory that ended the Cincinnati Reds’ winning streak at three games.

The Braves won at a place where they’ve had little success. They were 0-4 at Great American Ball Park last year and 14-25 overall since it opened for the 2003 season.

Paul Maholm (4-3) held down an offense that’s been all-or-nothing. The left-hander allowed four hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Cincinnati stranded five runners in scoring position overall.

Craig Kimbrel gave up two singles in the ninth before striking out Joey Votto for his 10th save in 12 opportunities.

Atlanta scored in four of five innings against Bronson Arroyo (2-4), who gave up eight hits, walked two and allowed four runs in his shortest outing of the season.

Simmons had a solo homer and an RBI single off Arroyo. He added a two-run homer in the eighth off Logan Ondrusek, matching his career high for hits.

Freddie Freeman also singled and doubled and drove in a run off Arroyo, who needed 98 pitches to get through five innings. Jordan Schafer added his first career pinch-hit homer as the Braves pulled away.

The injury-sapped Braves got a little closer to full strength when catcher Brian McCann was activated off the disabled list, completing a comeback from surgery on his throwing shoulder last October. The six-time All-Star started and went 0-for-4 with a walk.

Right fielder Jason Heyward also increased his workout activities while recovering from surgery to remove his appendix on April 22. The Braves will decide by the end of the week whether he’s ready to start a rehab assignment in the minors.

The Braves made it tough on Arroyo from the outset. Freeman singled home a run in the first inning, but Atlanta left the bases loaded when Dan Uggla struck out.

Simmons led off the second inning with a homer down the third-base line. Uggla opened the fourth with his second triple of the season — a ball into the gap in right-center field — and scored on Simmons’ single off the glove of Zack Cozart in the hole at shortstop for a 3-0 lead.

Evan Gattis doubled home a run in the fifth off Arroyo. The Braves pulled away with three runs in the eighth off Ondrusek.

Votto doubled home a run in the eighth inning, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

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