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Reds Vs. Braves: Atlanta's Offensive Struggles Continue, Reds Win 5-1

The Braves failed to capitalize on a ton of opportunities in their series opening 5-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds Friday night at Turner Field. Atlanta was just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base in the loss. The Braves lone run came on a Dan Uggla sacrifice fly in the sixth. 

With Atlanta being unable to come up with a timely hit, it put more pressure on the defense and Braves starter Tommy Hanson. Cincinnati took an early lead in the second inning after a Fred Lewis double scored Scott Rolen giving the Reds their first run of the night. 

Cincinnati tacked on another run in the fourth after a Tommy Hanson throwing error on a would be double play put runners at the corners with one out. Cincinnati's Paul Jarnish followed with a squeeze bunt to give the Reds the 2-0 lead. The Reds added another run in the fifth on a Jay Bruce infield single that was deflected by pitcher George Sherrill. Cincinnati tacked on two more runs in the ninth with a Ramon Hernandez two run homerun off of Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

Atlanta had two runners on base in each of the first, fourth, and fifth innings but failed to come up with the big hit. Their best chance to score came in the eighth as the Braves loaded the bases but with two outs, Alex Gonzalez grounded sharply to shortstop ending the threat. 

Tommy Hanson (5-4) takes the loss after lasting 4.2 innings while giving up three runs two of which were earned. Four other Braves relievers combined to shut down the Reds for 2.1 innings before Kimbrel surrendered the home run to Hernandez in the ninth. 

Jordan Schafer went 2 for 4 with a walk in the lead off spot for the Braves. Brian McCann also had two hits and a walk for Atlanta. 

For the Reds, Mike Leake earns his fourth win after pitching six innings and allowing just one earned run. Leake scattered seven hits and three walks while striking out two batters. Scott Rolen and Chris Helsey each had two hits for Cincinnati. 

The Braves will send Derek Lowe to the mound in the second game of the series and he will be opposed by Reds right hander Bronson Arroyo

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.