Rafael Furcal and Marcus Giles sparked Atlanta to a 5-2 victory over the Reds on Thursday night. Atlanta won for just the fifth time in its last 14 games, a slump that dropped the Braves down to fourth in the NL East.
Horacio Ramirez will try to help Atlanta clinch no worse than a split in this series when he takes the mound Friday. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 7.01 ERA in his last six starts, with teams hitting .316 against him during that span. Right-handers are batting .300 against him this season, and opponents are hitting .328 with runners in scoring position.
Ramirez allowed four runs and five hits over five innings in an 11-5 loss to Oakland on Sunday.
The Reds have lost four straight, and appear to be unable to get anything out of a free-swinging offense that relies on homers.
Cincinnati was outscored 23-4 during a three-game sweep in Boston, and was topped by a Braves offense that ranks second-to-last in the NL.
The defeat dropped the last-place Reds a season low-tying 14 games below .500 and 15 1/2 games out in the NL Central.
“We’ve run into guys who’ve been throwing the ball well,” said Adam Dunn, who hit his team-leading 17th homer in the loss. “The last four days, when we’ve been struggling offensively, each of those guys have been on their games.”