Braves 10, Reds 5

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CINCINNATI (AP)—The pregame message to Atlanta’s hitters focused on aggressiveness. Kelly Johnson was listening.

The rookie hit a grand slam and a two-run homer for a career-high six RBIs, and Andruw Jones also homered twice to lead the Braves to a 10-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

Johnson hit a two-run homer on an 0-1 pitch from right-hander Ramon Ortiz (2-5) in the first inning and a grand slam in the sixth on the first pitch he saw from left-hander Randy Keisler.

“We got to come out early and hit on the field,” Johnson said. “Then we had a little powwow about making mental adjustments. Then I hit a first-pitch fastball with the bases loaded. That’s what the powwow was about. We talked about aggressiveness.”

Wilson Betemit also connected for the Braves, who matched their season high of five homers. Jones hit solo home runs in the third and fifth, tying Chicago’s Derrek Lee for the NL lead with 18 homers.

“We need one of these games to get everyone going,” Jones said. “We have a good ballclub, even with all of the young guys.”

Horacio Ramirez (5-4) gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings.

Ortiz allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings, giving up four homers for the second time in his career. He didn’t allow more than one homer in any of his first nine starts, then gave up two to Baltimore’s Sammy Sosa last Sunday.

“I felt great,” Ortiz said. “My arm felt good. My release was good. I just couldn’t win. They hit everything. I tried to throw one high and inside to Jones and he hit a home run, and I said, ‘Whoa.”’

Cincinnati is on its third losing streak of five or more games. The five homers were the most off the Reds this season.

“The big thing with Ramon has been his location,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “He tried to put balls in different spots, and they didn’t get there.”

Rafael Furcal tripled leading off, and Johnson followed with his second career homer, his second in four days.

“Kelly can hit, and he can hit left-handers,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “His fundamental approach is unreal, and he doesn’t strike out much.”

Atlanta sent nine batters to the plate in the inning, and Ryan Langerhans drew a bases-loaded walk.

“We scored in the first inning, and that’s a big advantage for us,” Jones said.

Cincinnati scored in the bottom half when Ryan Freel led off with a single and Felipe Lopez followed with his 11th homer.

“Obviously, it makes it tougher to come back,” Miley said. “Early deficits, when you’re struggling offensively, it definitely doesn’t help.”

Jones homered in the third to put Atlanta ahead 4-2, Betemit connected in the fourth and Jones homered in the fifth for his 24th multihomer game—his third this season and second in a week.

“I don’t want to talk about this game,” Ortiz said. “There’s nothing I can do. You have to keep your head up and go on to the next game. You have to forget this one.”

Wily Mo Pena drove in Ken Griffey Jr. in the sixth with his ninth homer of the season.

Notes

Lopez’s homer snapped an 0-for-13 slump. He set a career high with four hits. His fifth-inning single with Freel on second base was Cincinnati’s first in 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position. … Ortiz also allowed four homers on May 18, 2002, for Anaheim against the Chicago White Sox. … The Braves also hit five home runs in an 11-4 win at Philadelphia on April 15 and in a 16-0 win over Houston on May 8.

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