Reds 8, Braves 5
“Right now, he’ll hit anywhere you put him,” said Reds manager Jerry Narron, after Dunn’s five-RBI night led the Reds to an 8-5 win over the Atlanta Braves.
“The main thing is we wanted to get Wily Mo (Pena) in the middle to get him some protection and see some pitches to hit.”
Dunn had a three-run homer and a two-run double for the sixth five-RBI game of his career, the third this year.
He homered off Braves starter Horacio Ramirez, a left-hander, in the fourth to give the Reds a 4-2 lead. He then doubled against Ramirez with the bases loaded in the sixth, driving in two more runs.
“Ramirez has been pitching well,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “But he kept walking Pena with Dunn behind him. Dunn hasn’t hit left-handers for a high average this year, but he’s dangerous. He hit two rockets off (Ramirez).”
Dunn was named NL player of the month for July earlier in the day. He had an NL-leading 11 homers and major league-best 31 RBIs last month.
“I’ve been seeing lefthanders good all year,” Dunn said. “I know my numbers stink. I think I’ve been overly aggressive, trying to pull everything. I’m not doing anything different—just hitting it more.”
Cox said it’s a mystery how Dunn set a major league record by striking out 195 times last season.
“He’s got a great eye, a great swing. He’s one of the guys you’ve got to fear,” Cox said. “I never did understand why he strikes out so much.”
Ramirez was charged with all eight runs and six hits, with four walks and one strikeout in five-plus innings.
“The park is short to right-center field, and that’s my power,” said Franco, who homered twice against the Reds on June 18 in Great American Ball Park.
The Reds played small ball to perfection in the third when Jason LaRue walked, moved up on Claussen’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Freel’s sharp single to left, his first RBI since May 30 at Houston.
Freel missed 21 games with a sore toe during that stretch.
Reds shortstop Felipe Lopez kept the Braves out of a big first inning, going deep into the hole for Franco’s sharply hit grounder, then throwing him out with two outs and two runners on base.
The game was interrupted in the seventh when Atlanta’s Rafael Furcal broke his bat on a foul ball and the barrell struck home place umpire Chuck Meriwether in the hand. Second base umpire Tim Timmons took over behind the plate when play resumed after a 12-minute delay. … Braves 3B Chipper Jones was out with a strained rotator cuff suffered in Tuesday night’s game. He is day-to-day, manager Bobby Cox said, but no special treatment is necessary. … Ramirez has allowed a team-high 21 home runs this season. … Braves 2B Giles extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games with a first-inning single. … Reds 1B Sean Casey singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to eight games.