Bruce will try to build on another impressive game on Saturday when the Reds continue their three-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park.
Bruce, the Reds’ top prospect, had four hits—including three off 300-game winner Tom Glavine—in Cincinnati’s 11-inning, 3-2 win in Friday’s series opener. He reached on a single in the 11th and scored the winning run on Chipper Jones’ error.
The 21-year-old outfielder has eight hits in 14 at-bats just four games into his major league career, including a 3-for-3 night in his big league debut on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. He has already become a favorite among fans, who chant “BRUUUUCE!” every time he gets a hit or makes a catch.
“Everything the last three days—Three days, right? Four?—has been great,” Bruce said. “It’s been awesome.”
He certainly impressed Glavine, who made his major league debut in the same year Bruce was born.
“He’s finding holes with everything right now,” Glavine said. “Good for him, I guess. Not so good for us.”
Bruce and the Reds (26-29) managed to extend the Braves’ road woes. Atlanta (29-26) owns the worst road record in the NL at 7-19 and has dropped 19 straight one-run games away from home dating to last season.
The Braves also own the best home record in the league at 22-7.
“Whatever can go wrong on the road has gone wrong,” Glavine said. “I’ve been on teams that have had inconsistency, but I’ve never been on a team like this one where it’s just money at home and we can’t do anything right on the road.”
Jones had an especially frustrating night in the series opener.
He went 0-for-5, ending his 11-game hitting streak and dropping his major league-leading average to .409, and also misplayed two grounders in the 11th. Ken Griffey Jr. singled sharply past him before he failed to come up with Brandon Phillips’ grounder for the game-ending error.
“Chipper has been playing great third base, and he comes up with two,” manager Bobby Cox said. “There’s no way to explain that. I guess he’s due a bad game out of every 50.”
Now, the Braves are hoping starter Jair Jurrjens (5-3, 2.86 ERA) can help them bounce back in his first career start against the Reds.
Jurrjens gave up three runs in a season-low 4 2-3 innings of the Braves’ 7-3 win over Brandon Webb and Arizona on Monday. He threw 97 pitches and was bothered by blisters on his pitching hand.
“He’s a young kid and we’ve got to take care of him a little bit,” Cox said. “He’s already accumulated a lot of innings.”
Matt Belisle was originally scheduled to start for Cincinnati, but he was sent to the minors to work as a reliever, and the Reds will instead turn to Josh Fogg (1-2, 9.00). Fogg, who signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal in February to fill out Cincinnati’s rotation, was demoted to the bullpen after going 1-2 with a 13.09 ERA in three starts.
He has allowed nine runs in 14 innings in seven relief appearances.
“I’ve always had a pretty resilient arm,” Fogg said. “I don’t think I’ll throw 115 pitches, but I’ll try to be efficient to stay out there as long as I can.”
Fogg is 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA in six career appearances—five starts— against the Braves. He was battered for five runs in 2 2-3 innings of relief on May 4 in Atlanta, but didn’t get a decision in the Reds’ 14-7 loss.