Reds win 4-3 over Braves

Published 3:51 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

Micah Owings hit a three-run homer and pitched six effective innings to overcome Javier Vazquez’s complete game and lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

Jay Bruce also homered and Ryan Hanigan had two hits to help Owings (4-7) earn his first win since May 12 and improve to 4-0 in four career starts against Atlanta. He was 0-4 in six starts since a 3-1 win at Arizona.

The Reds squeezed out the win despite no production from the first five batters in the lineup, who went a combined 0 for- 17. Their only baserunner was Brandon Phillips, who walked in the fourth inning.

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Vazquez (4-6) allowed four hits and two walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings. It was the 24th complete game of his career and first since a 3-2 loss to Oakland last July 3 while pitching for the White Sox. He is 0-3 in five starts since a 12-4 win over Colorado on May 20.

Yunel Escobar had two hits, including his seventh homer of the season, but the Braves still lost their fourth consecutive game and sixth in their last seven.

With the Reds trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Jerry Hairston drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Ryan Hanigan’s second single of the game. Owings followed with his second homer of the season and seventh of his career, reaching the first row of seats in right field.

On May 10, his pinch-hit solo home shot tied the game in the ninth inning of an eventual 8-7 loss in 10 innings to St. Louis.

Owings, who also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the third inning, allowed two runs on six hits and two walks.

Bruce gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a two-out solo home run, his 16th of the season and first in 21 at bats since June 10.

Nate McLouth walked to lead off the third before Escobar homered. Escobar was hitless in his previous nine at bats and 2 for 14 in the previous five games of Atlanta’s road trip.

Nate McLouth doubled with one out in the seventh and came around to score on two wild pitches by Masset. Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers shut the Braves down before Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.